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  1. #1
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Birdie’s Hero Breakdown – Gwenneth Truesight

    Intro

    You asked for it, you'd all better read it!

    Ah Gwen; she’s always been a big part of my Shadow Era play. Not that I used her at first, but I came into the game in 1.25 where her ability was a passive +2 on attack and she made up 50% of the QM meta (in my ranges anyway). The combination of Rapid Fire + Soul Seeker is the most hated weapon play in the game (probably one of the most hated plays period), and the amount of times people have screamed to have Gwen nerfed is incalculable (usually Mage and Zaladar players ). But she’s not overpowered (not even close), she’s merely misunderstood.

    Overview

    Like all weapon based heroes, Gwen is a bit of a one-trick pony, and even more so than most in my opinion. Any self-respecting Gwen deck will have 4 Soul Seekers and at least 3 Rapid Fire, which means anyone who faces a Gwen deck will know what they’re up against immediately and will take steps to counter that strategy. Still, she is very powerful when you know how to use her.

    One thing that you need to know about Gwen is that she is what I call a “sniper” hero, solo Gwen builds in particular. She excels in a very specific meta; i.e one that is dominated by heroes with little heal or item destruction. This usually means a mage/elemental meta.She can perform against most heroes with a level of success, but it’s not always easy to come away with the win.

    Now, as far as the hunter pool goes we have access to lots of niche abilities (even the allies are very niche in their use really), but most notably we have traps, which are currently unique to the class. Traps are the closest thing this game has to instants (cards playable in opposing players turn) and can potentially swing the game, particularly the early game. Of the four traps, Snare Trap is the one seeing the most play for reasons I’ll explain later. The other big thing in the hunter pool and the reason so many people cry broken is Into the Forest.

    Allies

    Now, many people believe that Gwen is a solo hero only (including some very notable players). I am of the belief that a solo Gwen is way too focused and specific, and too easy to shut down for many classes (Rogues, Priests, Wulven in particular), so I advocate an ally based strategy. It adds a layer of consistency to the deck and allows a two pronged assault. It also gives you a backup in case your weapons are reliably countered (which sadly happens a lot).

    Call of the Crystals

    • Tainted Oracle: Your number one ally for both (semi)solo and allied decks. He gives you the draw you need to bring out the big guns, your weapons. The best part is that it’s no win for your opponent; they either kill him and give you cards or leave him alone and take 2 damage per turn. Still he cannot be completely relied on, there are plenty of ways to shut him down without actually killing him.

    • Lily Rosecult: Your number two ally. She allows you to get those weapons back into play and draw out your opponent’s item destruction. A brilliant utility ally for a weapon based build, and she gives you a threat on the board as well.

    • Jasmine Rosecult: The other Rosecult sister does what she always does, provides a kill or be killed threat in the early game for your opponent, and gives you the opportunity to assert early board dominance. If left alone she will take over the board all by herself.

    • Aldon the Brave: The other early game ally staple, his +1 bonus will give you control going first and can mean the difference between winning and losing. There’s nothing more to really say here.

    • Armored Sandworm: A bit of an oddball choice because you don’t see many Gwen decks running it, but it’s a tank that gives you a very tough to remove threat that will combo damage up to 6 with weapon + ability and will wipe most things from the board in a single sweep. Also a great card to use with A Perfect Shot (similar to how Victor is played).


    Dark Prophecies

    • Champion of Irum: A nice solid 2 drop, with the ability to grow in response to your opponent’s threat level. Which means unlike Puwen he can be useful throughout the game (nothing like dropping a 3/5 for 2 ).

    • Layarian Seductress: I really love Seductress with Gwen. I personally find I tend to stop at 6 resources in my games so I will almost always trigger her ability, and she’s great for buying you an extra turn when your opponent drops some monster threat that would normally distract you. Also is a great counter to FTA (First Turn Advantage).

    • Artful Squire: Gives Gwen something she never had previously, the ability to destroy items cost 4 and lower. Can be a real boon when something just has to be dealt with (like Jeweler’s Dream, Wrath of the Forest, Tome of Knowledge, etc), and if not he still has some use as an ally. Bear in mind he cannot target support abilities like Portal.

    • Wendith Eagle-Eye: Wendith is a great ally for Gwen for a couple of reasons. One is that her weapon buff completely counters the basic anti-Gwen strategy, drop lots of 5 health allies (and in DP there’s plenty to choose from). She also renders Karash impotent (as he is often used as weapon destruction). The second reason is this…. Ambush. With Wendith out you can essentially do a single swing for 8 (3 Ambush damage from Wendith, 4+1 from your boosted weapon). The only allies that’ll survive that sort of punishment (without buffs) are Gunther and Sandworm, good news for Gwen, bad news for anyone else. Still, she conflicts with so many core cards due to her resource costing, which can sometimes make it difficult to play her at the right moment.
    Last edited by Preybird; 05-05-2013 at 09:24 PM.
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  2. #2
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Abilities and Items

    Where the meat and potatoes of any Gwen deck lies. Her abilities and items turn her into a force to be reckoned with when it all comes together. The best part is DP adds two more great weapons to an already impressive arsenal.

    Call of the Crystals

    • Rapid Fire: What makes Gwen, Gwen. This card doubles the effectiveness of her ability and allows her to dish out ridiculous amounts of hurt.

    • Soul Seeker: THE weapon. This is a damage monster and heal engine in one, and with Gwen she can keep the damn thing out near indefinitely. A Soul Seeker will bring you back from the dead, and keep you in a game you would otherwise lose. A word of advice, almost always play these last out of your weapons if you can (there are exceptions). The reason being is that each one is precious and you want them to survive. Playing your other weapons first draws out the opponent’s item destruction.

    • Golden Katar: A solid second choice, its low durability is negated somewhat by Gwen’s ability. It is also a very solid defensive weapon, and many people won’t attack into it because they can’t beat it down, so it indirectly prevents damage too!

    • Poison Arrow: Brilliant stall card, it also works in conjunction with buffed weapons to kill 5 health allies without having to worry about retaliation. Can also give you the breathing room you need when going for the throat.

    • Into The Forest: “It’s broken I tell you! Broken!” Truthfully it probably is, but it still doesn’t put Gwen to the top of the hero pile. Into The Forest makes Gwen un-targetable for a turn, which means your opponent will have to just sit back and watch their health tick down. Chaining 2-3 of these is insta-win for Gwen in most cases. An opponent isn’t completely defenceless however, they can target Gwen’s weapons (Make sure you have backups!), and cards that don’t require targeting the hero still work (like Supernova).


    Dark Prophecies

    • Grundler’s Double: Finally a weapon that is (almost) as good as Soul Seeker. However as opposed to healing this gives you cards, which is something that Hunters desperately need, considering their draw options are weak to say the least. It also has one more point of durability and bypasses stealth (Great for Moonstalker and Lance), but costs one more resource to cast. A damn fine weapon in Gwen’s hands, and will singlehandedly win her some matchups.

    • Feathered Longbow: This is the Rusty Longsword of the Hunter pool. Cheap and designed to take back board control when on the draw (going second). The best part is that with Gwen’s durability buffs it can survive a lot longer than it has any right to, and is useful even in late game. And because it’s cheap you can usually drop an ally on the same turn.

    • A Perfect Shot: This card was really designed to address weaknesses in Banebow’s game but it works well with Gwen too, when she needs to kill something and her ability just isn’t ready. Nothing is safe with this card floating around.

    • Snare Trap: The current hunter trap of choice, the reason being that most competitive decks rely on their 3cc allies to carry the day, and Snare Trap counters that strategy. Also on the draw, a T2 Snare Trap ensures you will get your 3cc ally out first, which as we all know is a big thing in Shadow Era.


    Hunter Draw

    Hunter’s draw options are less than ideal, and Gwen players tend to make use of bi-lateral draw engines (Bazaar, Bad Santa) or rely on Tainted Oracle and Treasured Heirloom for one shot draw. However there are three draw engines that are available to the Gwen player, two armors and an attachment:

    • Wrath of the Forest: Designed to work when you have a crapton of allies to power it, and when you expect them to die a lot. This is the comeback engine, keeping you in the game until you can take advantage. The problem is that most allied Gwen decks don’t have the room for lots of allies, usually only running 14-16 at maximum (and 4 of those are usually Oracle), so this engine doesn’t really synergize with her.

    • Pride of the Mountain: Basically a weaker Ill-Gotten Gains that can be beaten down by allies. Gwen can make better use of it than most, but it’s still not a superb draw engine by any stretch because it is so limiting. Definitely forces a control style strategy, which is moving away from the aggro style that so many people are used to with Gwen. Still, if you can get it off you can draw cards like crazy due to Rapid Fire.

    • Survivalist: The item based draw engine, it triggers whenever a item is destroyed. Now it can give you cards when your weapons are destroyed to help you find the next one, but the main real use comes from those disposable items out there, traps. Now the keyword destroyed is super important because the number one trap out there (Snare Trap) isn’t destroyed when it triggers, it’s removed from the game, which means Survivalist doesn’t trigger. A huge downside and considering you can’t recycle traps like Victor, it’s really near useless in Gwen’s hands, as she will trigger it maybe 3-4 times total with weapons only.


    Besides these three you also have the incidental draw of cards like Ley Line Nexus and most notably Grundler’s Double, though that’s damn hard to trigger reliably (Jade of the Forest could do it, but very expensive SE wise and prevents Gwen’s ability usage).

    Playstyles

    • Aggro: Also what I refer to as beatdown. You’re the aggressor, the proactive player aiming to force responses from your opponent. You hit fast and often. This sort of playstyle generally uses a lot of allies and/or weapons/direct damage. Aggro is a style of play that relies heavily on maintaining tempo. Mess that up and chances are you can overrun an aggro deck.

    • Control: The flip side to aggro, control aims to win by being reactive, constantly having the right answer until it’s ready to produce threats of its own. Control doesn’t so much rely on the tempo play, it’s more reliant on card advantage for the majority of the game.

    • Stall/Mill: The ultimate slowdown. We all know the main culprit here (Millstalker), though there are other stall decks around of varying levels of effectiveness. While these decks claim to win by decking you out (milling) they’re actually stalling you, milling is just a by-product of that.


    Okay, Gwen is capable of all three styles, though the majority of Gwens are either stalling solo Gwens or allied beatdown Gwens. However with cards like Pride of the Mountain as a draw engine, a more controlling Gwen is certainly possible, using her weapons to kill off allies and keep the board safe, while her minions do the work for her.



    Last edited by Preybird; 05-06-2013 at 12:16 AM.
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  3. #3
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Matchups

    Ok, the deck I’m using as an example is a tweaked version of my old Bride deck, with a bit more early game punch:

    1 x Gwenneth Truesight

    3 x Jasmine
    4 x Puwen
    3 x Aldon
    4 x Tainted Oracle
    3 x Priest of the Light
    2 x Aeon Stormcaller
    3 x Poison Arrow
    3 x Rapid Fire
    3 x Into the Forest
    2 x Ley Line Nexus
    3 x Bad Santa
    4 x Soul Seeker
    2 x Golden Katar

    This only uses CotC cards, but for DP simply swap the Priest of the Light for Seductress and the Katar for Grundler’s and you should be doing alright.

    Note: ITF = Into The Forest.

    Boris Skullcrusher
    Matchup Quality: Medium
    Tactics: Most likely he’ll blunt your early assault with his ability and Crippling Blow, but you can really bring the hurt in the mid game, so it’s reasonably even. As most of the Boris’ out there at the moment are the hasted variants they need a few turns to get set up. Take advantage of that and get as many hits in as you can early. When the KP buffed allies come out use ITF and LLN to finish him off

    Amber Rain
    Matchup Quality: Hard
    Tactics: She rushes better than you, she has good item destruction, AND will hit you back hard with those buffed weapons. You need to out-control her, focus on her allies and stay alive until you can chain together a few big strikes (Preferably with ITF). Soul Seeker and Pride of the Mountain will keep you in the game here; keep them safe at all costs.

    Victor Heartstriker
    Matchup Quality: Easy/Medium
    Tactics: This one really depends on how you play your deck. If you run a lot of allies out make sure you swarm him, otherwise he’ll shut you down with ease. However if you can keep HIS allies under control your weapon damage potential outstrips his by a magnitude of at least 3.

    Gwenneth Truesight
    Matchup Quality: Medium/Hard
    Tactics: I hate Gwen mirrors, they’re bloody evil and require cesium-clock like timing to win. Both of you have the same goal in mind; win with a solo strategy so you’re not fueling your opponent’s Soul Seeker. So the win condition here is ITF, which means you have to time it to conincide with your opponent’s SE ability charging. Try and save your SE so you can beat down multiple turns in a row. A lot of luck does come into these mirror matches I find.

    Nishaven
    Matchup Quality: Easy
    Tactics: Rush ‘im down. Hit him as hard as possible as early as possible, then drop Rapid Fire + Weapon and sweep in for the win. Chain those ITFs if possible and just go for the throat. Remember this, most mage players drop Supernova to prevent you from healing off their allies and switch to burn. Here’s a secret, they’re helping you. Here’s why:

    A mage has 26 health. With a weapon and Rapid Fire on turn 6 a Gwen player can deal 4+4, 4+4, 2+2=20 over 3 turns. Coupled with the damage from Supernova and you only have to deal 1! damage in the first 4 turns (Provided they’re not healing with PotL or Honored Dead). If you’ve got a couple of ITF in your hand by turn 6 you’ve won this in 99% of cases.

    Eladwen Frostmire
    Matchup Quality: Easy
    Tactics: Same advice as Nishaven. I actually think this is easier because her ability isn’t a wipe.

    Jericho Spellbane
    Matchup Quality: Very Hard
    Tactics: This is a bitch of a matchup, for the same reason Jericho kicks Warriors to the kerb. He strips you of your attachments which in this case is Rapid Fire. But... here’s the counter. Drop Rapid Fire on turn 6 coupled with an ITF. He can’t target you and thus you can get a swing in with your weapons at full power on turn 7. Also if you can get a good ally rush off you can take him down quick. Just don’t expect your weapons to live long, due to Focused Prayer. This is AUTO-LOSS for solo Gwen.

    Zhanna Mist
    Matchup Quality: Very Hard
    Tactics: Zhanna is evil too, you have only one real chance here. Kill her before turn 7, or have her so close to dead (i.e, under 4 health), that you only need one swing to finish her off. She can’t kill your Rapid Fire like Jericho (Mass Purification still looms large overhead), but she can really reduce your damage potential with her heal, and with ample ally control and item destruction you’re in for a tough one if you cannot get her with an early ally rush. This is AUTO-LOSS for solo Gwen.

    Lance Shadowstalker
    Matchup Quality: Hard/Very Hard
    Tactics: Lots of stealth allies and ample item destruction, two things Gwen really dislikes. However she has a new tool thankfully, Grundler’s Double. Normally you want to shield your Soul Seekers, this time its Grundler’s you want to protect. Drop a Seeker or two to try and draw out those Stop Thiefs. Artful Squire to bust IGG if you use it will help too.

    Serena Thoughtripper
    Matchup Quality: Medium/Hard
    Tactics: Serena is still tricky, even though she hasn’t got the stealthed allies. The reason is her discard ability is a real pain as Gwen’s draw isn’t fantastic. Still, keep her down with weapons and allies (remember Rogue early game generally stinks), so get in there and hit hard.
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  4. #4
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Ter Adun
    Matchup Quality: Hard/Very Hard
    Tactics: Depends how the early game goes. If you can really lay into him in the first 5-6 turns you can win this. Keep weapons spare AT ALL TIMES. My last match with Ter I used all 4 Soul Seekers in 4 turns. (He kept dropping Fonts!) Solo Ter is really difficult to win, you have to save your LLN for any Snow Sapphires and make sure you can double drop weapons (drop one as bait, then drop the second). Don’t feed his Rampage allies and you can maybe walk away with it.

    Logan Stonebreaker
    Matchup Quality: Medium
    Tactics: Blood Frenzy quality draw with tough spammable allies (Karash, Gargoyle, Acolyte) make this matchup pretty difficult at times. Into The Forest will allow you to go for the throat without having your weapons beaten down, but you still need to get the early hits in with allies. Wendith is awesome to deal with the aforementioned allies, however Logan will most likely kill her off quick.

    Banebow
    Matchup Quality: Hard
    Tactics: I really dislike playing Banebow with Gwen, you can’t keep any allies on the field and without heaps of ally stall you’re at risk of being overwhelmed. Solo Gwen finds this matchup HEAPS easier. At the moment I’m finding the best strategy is a control based one, keep their allies down while you set up behind an Aeon, though that is very risky in itself due to Wrath of the Forest and A Perfect Shot. Pride of the Mountain can keep your draw up and power this sort of strategy.

    Baduruu
    Matchup Quality: Hard
    Tactics: If it’s Res D Baduruu you’re facing you’re in for a tough fight. Considering Gwen needs 5 resources to get rolling, Baduruu can dish out a lot of hurt before his resource destruction runs dry. Once it does it’s the control game to get your life back with Soul Seeker before slowly SLOWLY taking the board. Most Res D Baduruu’s don’t have much in the way of heavy hitters so if you can get past the early lockdown the match becomes much easier, particularly if you’re running Aeon or Sandworm.

    Majiya
    Matchup Quality: Medium
    Tactics: Majiya’s interesting, she has no heal, so my mage rule above is even more relevant, however she has all those tough Shadow allies that survive Soul Seekers. This is a case for go-for-the-throat if ever I saw one. Use Poison Arrow and Seductress to delay her allies for long enough to prepare for the ITF chaining kill shot. Also try to time your ITF to coincide with their Portal drops.

    Gravebone
    Matchup Quality: Easy/Medium
    Tactics: Similar to Majiya, with the added difficulty of being able to cycle threats. Another case of go-for-the-throat. Save your ITF until late game to prevent burn.

    Elementalis
    Matchup Quality: Medium
    Tactics: The monster maker. Retreat and disabling effects are the order of the day (as always). Hit him hard and fast. Be especially wary of Wulven Savage, Elementalis players love them. If you are going second you might want to upgrade this to “Hard”, especially if you don’t get your ITF chain prepared.

    Zaladar
    Matchup Quality: Easy
    Tactics: Gwen is that hero that’s firmly at the top of Zaladar’s shit list. Take advantage of that fact, and the psychological impact of simply using Gwen (believe me it’s there, I’ve had Zaladar players rage quit on turn 1 ). Stall him with allies until you can get your weapons kicking.

    A note with Elementals: Don’t kill their allies if possible; you don’t want Infinity Core and Soul Reaper ruining your day. Also watch out for Dimension Ripper, it can strip those vital cards at just the right moment (though there’s luck involved in that). Conversion is still a pest, but it’s not played often (though an Elementalis player did skittle me recently with a pair of them).

    Darkclaw
    Matchup Quality: Hard/Very Hard
    Tactics: His weapon is infinite, yours is not (no matter how much you want to think so). Also he has Ambush, you don’t. This means he’ll be getting six free damage every few turns, and punishing you when you hit back during your turn. ITF and timing is the order of the day here. Remember he can heal a LOT, so keep that in mind at all times (Lone Wolf will be a constant reminder). This is AUTO-LOSS for solo Gwen.

    Moonstalker
    Matchup Quality: Hard
    Tactics: For any hero that relies on combat damage, Moonstalker is a pain in the butt. But with ITF and Grundler’s Double you can make him suffer. Use allies as meatshields to delay him as much as possible, and make sure you save Retreat and Poison Arrow for those really big threats. Solo Gwen running Grundler’s should have a relatively easy time of this truthfully.


    Conclusion

    I’m sure after reading this you can all see why I say Gwen is a sniper hero. Almost all of her matchups fall into the “Easy” or “Hard” categories, there’s not much middle ground there. Still, she’s a good hero that can put up a fight in most cases, especially with DP. There’s also the psychological effect of Gwen, she is a hated hero in many cases (due to Soul Seeker, ITF and Rapid Fire), so take advantage of that and rattle your opponent with those massive 8 damage swings.
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    Senior Member Jo3yb0i's Avatar
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    Finally, the breakdown of the sexiest shadow era hero is here. I suggest u put a picture at the header cuz she's dat great...
    Always a great read... Great job. =]

    Now let the gwen bandwagon start. Brb preparing my MS deck for QM

    P.S. I love these hero breakdowns

    P.P.S. u shud post a breakdown every two weeks to change the meta so that I can adjust my QM deck accordingly. And to win more games =p
    Last edited by Jo3yb0i; 05-05-2013 at 09:31 PM.
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    Senior Member CyrusKhane's Avatar
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    Awesome breakdown as always. Boris next, please!
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  7. #7
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    Which do you think is better overall, Gwen or Baduruu? I am currently playing Baduruu and was wondering if its worth switching or will I find winning games a lot harder? Is it possible to get over 300 rating with this deck?

  8. #8
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    @Jo3ybo1: If using Moon, be sure to keep those Grundlers out of the picture!
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  9. #9
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TotallyImba View Post
    Which do you think is better overall, Gwen or Baduruu? I am currently playing Baduruu and was wondering if its worth switching or will I find winning games a lot harder? Is it possible to get over 300 rating with this deck?
    I personally prefer Gwen, I think she's stronger in most cases but that's just me.
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    Senior Member pyrogene's Avatar
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    Nice breakdown, although I won't call solo Gwen a stall/mill deck since it usually either kill by turn 9 or you lose.

    I think the main issue with allied Gwen is that the T5 RF is such a significant tempo lose that you are extremely unlikely to have board on T6. In that case it makes more sense just to ITF chain and gun for the throat anyway. Not being shadow and thus unable to boost your SE really makes your ability very precious to waste on allies. But you are right that solo Gwen has certain match-ups that are close to unwinnable (probably need at least 3 Artful Squire/Shrine to have a chance vs DC and Amber).

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