Talk to the host Martin Monnier he will allow Geralt to take part in the tournament on the condition he plays the Skellige Gwent deck, agree and he will give you the base deck, which will start the Gwent: Never Fear, Skellige's Here quest if you don't already have it. The quest will guide you to other players from who you can win the rest of the cards, which you have to do as your deck is too weak right now to take part in the tournament. Once you win a few more cards the quest will update that it's strong enough now.
Note: Even if you win enough cards to take part in the tournament it's best to first complete "Gwent: Never Fear, Skellige's Here" as then you can be sure you have all the cards you need.
Once you are done with that go back to Martin Monnier, you may take note of some unhappy dwarves when you reach the place but don't worry about them right now. Talk to the guard to present your deck and he will let you in, Martin Monnier will ask how you feel about the deck, but regardless of how you feel about the deck he will be certain you will win. Now he will introduce the other players and the tournament can start.
The Skellige Deck
The deck can be best described as "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" and relies heavily on luck. It has access to both Muster and Tight Bond cards as well as it's own unique Mardroeme cards, however including Gwent neutral cards it can only have up to 2 medic cards and only 1 spy card. Thus it's difficult to draw the cards you need to use a proper strategy as it's likely you will end up with an impaired hand. The only really good card in the deck is Cerys as it uses Muster to call all your Shield Maidens that have Tight Bond which is an instant 46 attack strength, however like every Tight Bond card it is weak against Scorch effect cards, but don't worry the developers knew how crappy the deck is and made sure the opponents rarely use these effects. However, there is a strategy to make the deck work, so listen closely.
Decoys are your friend
Decoys are the only way to make this deck playable, so be sure to equip all 3, as they can be used to reuse your opponents Spy cards. Even if your opponent does not play Nilfgaardian Empire Gwent deck or Northern Realms Gwent deck they can still be used to reuse your Birna Bran medic card and/or Scorch unit cards like Villentretenmerth and Clan Dimun Pirate.
Play them with Muster cards
By selecting Crach an Craite as the leader it is possible to reuse Muster cards in another round by using Decoys. Problem is that the Skellige deck has only access to 1 set of Muster cards which is the Light Longship and Cerys cannot be reused as it's a hero card. However, if you also have Hearts of Stone expansion you can add the Gaunter O'Dimm cards to the deck. Thus you can use the following strategy - after you draw your cards be sure to exchange all duplicate Muster cards for something else as you only need 1 from each set. However, if you draw both Gaunter O'Dimm (gwent card) and Gaunter O'Dimm: Darkness (gwent card) then keep both as you can use Gaunter O'Dimm in another round to reuse the Gaunter O'Dimm: Darkness cards without the help of a Decoy card.
When the round starts play both Light Longship and Gaunter O'Dimm: Darkness, if you also have Olaf and/or Olgierd von Everec you can play them in the ranged row to boost their strength. Now recall 1 Light Longship and Gaunter O'Dimm: Darkness card with your Decoys. In the next round use your Crach an Craite to reshuffle your cards and use your Muster cards again. If you used Olgierd or Olaf in the first round you can use a medic to revive them, but be sure to do it BEFORE you reshuffle your deck, problem is the card may get revived in the Close combat row, but if you still have a spare Decoy you could use it to change the cards position to the Ranged row.
Even if the strategy does not ensure you a victory it will at the very least force your opponent to use up more of his/her cards thus increasing your chance of winning in the 3rd round. Also remember to use your Muster cards before your spy card if you do draw it, else it may draw more of your Muster cards which would be a waste.
Geralt's first opponent is Hamal ogn Dangbahli who plays the Monsters Gwent deck, he will ask to raise the stakes, his silver sword Blave against Geralt's, you can agree or refuse. If you agree but lose Martin Monnier will buy it back for you, however it's quite difficult to lose to him as his deck is pretty crappy and like other NPC players he will play his Kayran (gwent card) in the Ranged row instead of Close Combat row.
After you win your next opponent will be Ambassador von Hinn as the other 2 players will get disqualified, who also has a pretty crappy deck and he rarely uses spies, after you win or lose the protesters will barge in and you will have to fight 3 of them in a fistfight. Regardless whether you win or lose Geralt will convince them to calm down, after that Geralt will play Martin Monnier who will also play Skellige thus it's an even match. If you win you will be forced to play the leader of the protesters Yaki Rafiberg after that Geralt will receive his reward. If you won the last match you get 1000 and the cup if you lose then 500 but still get the trophy.
Important: If you win the tournament it will count as "Proof of wisdom" for There Can Be Only One.
- One day, Geralt came across a notice board with information about a gwent tournament organized by Count Monnier and to be held at the Pheasantry. The witcher, as everyone knew, was not one to turn down a bit of card playing, so he decided to join the event. Little did he know what surprises awaited him there...
- Count Monnier was a man as enterprising as he was creative. He and his brother Igor had decided to perfect gwent by adding a fifth faction: Skellige. The count announced that, if Geralt wished to take part in the tournament, he would be given a basic Skellige deck but would have to build it up himself. To acquire more powerful cards, Geralt had to find and defeat gwent players in Toussaint.
- Geralt's deck was deemed worthy by Count Monnier and thus the witcher qualified to enter the tourney. Players from all over the world were to take part in it along with him. There was a nobleman from Novigrad, the Nilfgaardian ambassador, an Ofieri merchant, a contestant from Skellige and the organizer of the tournament himself, Count Monnier.
- If Geralt loses early in the tournament:
- Despite Geralt's best efforts, he failed to emerge victorious at the tournament. Playing his cards well did not, however, turn out to be his only worry during the tournament. While they played, outside the building where the tournament was held a group of tradition-minded lovers of the old rules of gwent gathered to protest the addition of a new faction. After a short fight, the situation was brought under control and the two sides sat down for talks.
- If Geralt wins all "regular" rounds in the tournament:
- Geralt proved himself the best gwent player in Toussaint by defeating all comers at the elite tournament. This was doubly happy news, for the tournament might never have come to any conclusion at all. A group of opponents of the new Skellige faction had decided to show up to express their discontent. A tense altercation took place, but luckily both sides kept their cool.
- If Geralt wins the final round against Yaki:
- Geralt played a final match against a dwarf named Yaki. He knew very well this was a game of key importance, for not only was victory in the tournament at stake, but also Count Monnier's honor and the fate of the new faction he had introduced. In the end, Geralt defeated the dwarf and Yaki proved himself an honorable player by admitting defeat and remaining calm. If only all conflicts in the world could be resolved over a hand of gwent...
- Meet with the tournament's organizer.
- Find other gwent players and win stronger Skellige faction cards from them. 24/24
- Return to Count Monnier and get qualified for the tournament.
- Come back after two days and join the tournament.
- Enter the tournament.
- Fight the dwarves.
Geralt wins the tournament:
- Win the tournament.
- Defeat Yaki the dwarf in a game of gwent. (250The Pheasantry, 1000The Pheasantry)
Geralt fails to win the tournament:
- Lose the tournament. (50The Pheasantry, 100The Pheasantry)
- If Geralt wagered his silver sword and lost it, Count Monnier will trade it back for him
Hints and Tips
- Only four rounds of Gwent are played, but being forced to use the Skellige deck can be daunting since it's a deck which relies heavily on the luck of the draw.
- Getting the whole deck helps with regards to deck selection, but it isn't necessary to finish the quest.
- Once Corvo Bianco is gifted to Geralt as part of the main questline, pay for the general refurbishment of the house to get the Majordomo to play with Geralt as a practice partner. This might be useful for anyone hoping to get some practice with the Skellige deck before the tournament.
- The following list is a good build with some tips and tricks below.
1x Geralt, 1x Ciri, 1x Yennefer, 1x Mysterious elf, 1x Villentretenmerth, 1x Olgierd, 1x Ermion, 1x Dandelion, 1x Hjalmar, 1x Cerys, 1x Birna, 1x Olaf, 1x Clan Dimun Pirate, 1x Kambi, 2x Young Berserker 3x Light Longship, 3x Clan Drummond Shield Maiden, 3x Clan an Craite Warrior (total 25)
Grand Total: 32
- Throw the 1st round to ensure you make use of the Skellige 3rd round bonus of receiving 2 random cards, as well as removing some cards from the opponent's deck unless you have spy cards that can also aid in dragging out the 1st round gaining cards while the opponent is losing cards.
- You need to mulligan (replace the card with another) away multiple searchable cards down to one. If you have Cerys, then Mulligan away all the shield Maidens.
- Mulligan away young berserkers if you don't have Ermion in the opening hand (but keep Ermion if there are no Berserkers).
- You need to have at most ONE Skellige Storm because it decreases the power of the opponent's back row, very effective against Nilfgaard and opposing Skellege.
- Always use Bran as Leader because Skellige opponents always use Crach and players take less damage from the effects of the Skellige Storm.
- Mulligan away a Clan an Craite Warrior if it is the only one in the opening hand UNLESS there are ways to draw more cards (using opponent's spies).
- Decoys are for three situations:
- Re-use Birna
- Bounce and use an enemy spy
- Save a Tight Bond unit (their sums are easy targets for scorch)
- In certain occasions, players will only play two rounds to win. In most cases, one round must be lost to drain more resources from the opponent. In the third round, the player gets two random cards back from the graveyard due to the Skellige faction's unique ability, giving the player an advantage.
- When using Bambi in combination with decoy's you can gain extra cards of a strength of 11 that can not be countered with Scorch unless you have a medic card then it might be wiser to use decoys there.
- Name of the quest is a reference to Turn! Turn! Turn! song.