These are Gwent: The Witcher Card Game's starting leaders and their abilities

Each Gwent faction starts with one leader, with two others available for unlocking. Let's take a look at the starting leaders and their abilities, as well as the other leaders and what they can do!

Faction default abilities

Each faction has it's own perk that is played by default throughout the match. This perk is an addition to the individual leader's special ability.

  • Northern Realms: Any gold card on your side of the table automatically has two strength added to it.
  • Monsters: One of your cards is randomly selected at the end of each round to stay on the table.
  • Skellige: At the end of every round, add one strength to every unit in your deck and hand.
  • Scoia'tael: Choose who plays first at the start of each round.

Northern Realms

This deck relies on siege engines, promotion, and reinforcement to best enemies on the battlefield.

Foltest (Starter)

Playing Foltest lets you choose one bronze unit on your side of the table and create an exact copy of it regardless of whether or not you have any duplicates in your deck. The card you create keeps all modifications made to the original — try this on a super-powered Poor Infantry card that has Adrenaline Rush enabled for serious muscle going into the next round.


Playing Radovid lets you choose any card on the battlefield and remove 10 strength from it. Try using this on a hero card that expects to make it to the next round — looking at you, Ciri.


Henselt, when played, lets you choose one row on your side of the table and convert all units on it to gold. Give this one a shot when using Reinforced Siege Towers and Poor Infantry.


Monsters decks are usually difficult to beat thanks to aggressive attacks, brutal weather conditions, and lasting gold cards.

Eredin (Starter)

When played, Eredin goes straight onto the table as a gold card with 10 strength. Because of the faction ability to keep one card on the table at the end of each round, this guy can last quite a while.


Playing Ge'els lets you choose a row on your side of the table and set the strength of all non-gold units on it to six. This works really well if you're using a Breedable deck with tons of low-powered cards.


Dagon lets you create and play either a Biting Frost, Impenetrable Fog, or Torrential Rain card. This is especially important when using a Wild Hunt or Foglet deck.


Likened to Vikings of the past due to their shape-shifting abilities, Skellige troops do best when wounded or already dead.

Crach an Craite (Starter)

When you play Crach an Craite, two Clan an Craite Warrior cards show up. These cards are important if you have a Warcry card in your hand, as this will double the strength of all cards that are sitting at a strength below the original number.

King Bran

King Bran lets you choose two cards in your hand and send them to the graveyard. You can then choose any card from your deck and place it in your hand. Use this leader with a resurrection deck.

Harald the Cripple

When played, remove four strength from all enemy units with their strength below its original number. Harald the Cripple is great for playing against other Skellige decks that rely on injured units.


Elves and dwarves make up this collection of cards that is focused on secrecy, espionage, and lasting strength.

Francesca (Starter)

Playing Francesca lets you choose up to three cards in your hand and replace them with random cards from your deck. This is a huge bonus, as many decks will fail if a certain card isn't present.


Eithné lets you choose one card on your side of the field and immediately play it again. Try using this with a Blue Mountain Commando or Elven Mercenary card.

Brouver Hoog

When played, choose a silver card from your deck and play it. This works great with the Yarpen Zigrin card if you're heading into the third round and need a bit of a boost to your stats.

What is your favorite faction?

Which deck do you play with most, and which leader do you use? Tell us in the comments section below!

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.