- Very good engine-building potential. Her chips give her three arrows and three draws and they can be played into each other. She can draw to start with a 4-6 buy on turn 1 letting her grab a powerful attack, a decent engine component or a 3 gem to go econ right off.
- Good attack chip synergy - she has an innate attack chip and a red arrow.
- Shadow Plague - this is obvious, but what's less obvious is that most of the workarounds are still weaknesses. Pitching it for wounds eats deck space, playing it to avoid the wounds eats arrows and pigging it avoid the discard reduces her draws.
- Her red game is much reduced by good blues.
Gwen's general game plan: Get an early advantage via faster cycling or disruption and leverage that advantage into an ever widening gap.
Chips Gwen loves:
- Chips with pigs: One of Each, Secret Move, Safe Keeping, Pick Your Poison, Training Day. With a pig, Gwen can keep Shadow Plague in her hand rather than discarding it at the end of a turn, thereby avoiding gaining wounds from it. This means that pigs are perhaps a bigger deal for Gwen than for any other character.
- Chips to deal with wounds: Just a Scratch, Training Day, Now or Later, Chips for Free, Self-Improvement, Degenerate Trasher. If Gwen can trash her own wounds, she cares a lot less about discarding Shadow Plague and can take more actions and draw with less chip-counting. Of note is that Gwen can use many of these chips for other ends as well as ditching wounds. JaS can be used as an attack, Training Day gives a Pig, CFF and NoL add draws for engine building, and DT serves as an additional washer for Shadowswarm.
- Red Washer chips (Dashing Strike, Color Panic). These can let Gwen get additional leverage and engine-building out of her native fork on Burnbarrow, which becomes a big deal in forkless pools.
- Red Attack Chips (Just a Scratch, Really Annoying, Ouch!, Combo Practice, Color Panic, Mix Master, Stolen Purples, Dashing Strike, Knockdown, Pick Your Poison). These can be played off of Burnbarrow's red arrow and many of them can be played to lead into and synergize with Shadowswarm's discard.
- Engine Chips, forks and draws (Button Mashing, Gem Essence, Recklessness, One True Style, One-Two Punch, Punch Punch Kick, Custom Combo, X- Copy, Now or Later, Chips for Free, Draw Three, One of Each, Roundhouse, Axe Kick, It's Combo Time) These can leverage Gwen's innate advantage in arrows and draws into a bigger advantage and to give her enough arrows play Shadow Plague freely. Three of these deserve special mention: One of Each gives a precious pig; Chips for Free can let Gwen retrain wounds, and Recklessness is surprisingly good for Gwen - since she often would be taking a wound anyways without a fork.
Chips Gwen Fears
- Strong Blues. Self-Improvement, Improvisation, Money for Nothing, Ebb or Flow, and Really Annoying have reactions that can cause problems for Gwen's red game. Gwen can avoid triggering blue reactions off of Shadowswarm by choosing not to make her opponent(s) discard, which makes such things into a bluffing and guessing game. However if Gwen buys other reds to play off of Burnbarrow's red, those can run into blue reactions.
- Chips that can make her draw or discard Shadow Plague when she's not ready for it. Zane's Max Anarchy and Vendetta's Surgical Strike can cause her to take wounds, and Gloria's Saving Grace can make Gwen draw Shadow Plague when she doesn't want to. Currently, Riskonade is the only non-character chip which makes opponent(s) draw, but chips like Pick Your Poison, and Combo Practice can force discards, making tough choices for Gwen.
- Chips that can make for a faster game. Riskonade, Ebb or Flow, Risky Move and It's Combo Time can add more gems into piles, making for a game that can end before Gwen has an engine going and forcing her to play crashes instead of Shadow Plague.
Gwen vs. Gloria: This is one of the best and most interesting matches in the game right now. Gwen needs to track where Gloria's Saving Grace is and whether she can play attacks without running into reactions. Gloria needs to track where Shadow Plague is and whether playing Radiant Healing helps herself or Gwen more.
Gwen vs. Troq: Gwen needs to watch out for Troq's speedy rushdown and hope that she can use reds effectively to limit Troq's chance to use his purples, or that she can build an engine to beat him to Master Puzzler or other big chips.
Gwen vs. Grave: In a forkless pool, or with good attack chips Gwen has an advantage here.
This guide is a draft written by rabid_schnauzer in 2012, reproduced here by permission. It is incomplete and could use some attention from an expert.