|Important Items in this Area|
|Foltest, the Steel-Forged Card|
|Emhyr var Emreis, the Relentless Card|
|Francesca Findabair, Queen of Dol Blathanna Card|
|Eredin, Destroyer of Worlds Card|
|Letter from Cantarella|
|Gwent Players in this Area|
|Barnard Tulle - Foltest, the Steel-Forged Card|
|Sasha - Emhyr var Emreis, the Relentless Card|
|Finneas - Francesca Findabair, Queen of Dol Blathanna Card|
|Count Tybalt - Eredin, Destroyer of Worlds Card|
Warning!: This is a high-level quest, and while it can be handled on any difficulty, it’s mostly presented here for the sake of continuity. Finishing up Gwent in Novigrad, and all that. Make a hard save BEFORE you enter the tournament, and if it’s too challenging for you - the Gwent, the fist-fighting or the combat - consider reloading and coming back at a later date.
Entering the Tournament
You have two ways to start the next quest; either head over to most any notice board in Novigrad and take the notice "High Stakes Gwent Tournament" or simply head to the Passiflora and find a Scribe to the north of Marquise Serenity, who is busily denying a potential Gwent player entry into a tournament. After the sad reject departs, talk to the scribe, show him your cards, and pay the 1,000 Crown entry fee. High stakes tournament, indeed!
Once you pay up you’ll get your ticket and head upstairs, where a woman named "Sasha" will pester you. Talk to her to learn the names of your competitors, including Patrick Hazelnutt, Bernard Tulle, Finneas and Count Tybalt. Follow Sasha’s advice and talk to your competition while waiting for Count Tybalt.
Barnard Tulle Match
After you’re done talking to the last of the three, the rules will be announced and the players will be paired off, with your first foe of the night being Barnard Tulle. Talk to him to play him; he’s got a powerful, but rather straight-forward Northern Kingdom decks, including 15 Strength Hero Cards like "Geralt of Rivia" and "Ciri". He’s also fond of "Biting Frost" cards and not above using "Commander’s Horn" and "Scorch" cards. He will also make use of his "Foltest, the Steel-Forged" card, which will limit the usefulness of your siege cards, so try to avoid playing too many of the same Strength at once to avoid this card. Sadly, your "Catapult" cards will have to be sacrificial lambs here. This is also the card you win if you defeat the halfling.
|For defeating Barnard Tulle at Gwent||20 XP, Foltest, the Steel-Forge Card|
After the match Sasha will bother you again and ask to talk to you on the balcony. Agree and follow her to hear her out, where she’ll tell you what she’s after here, and where she heard of you. Best case scenario you win the tournament and have control of the winner’s purse yourself. If you fail to win… well, she insists it might be lucrative if you remain until the end anyways. You should have no intention of losing, however, as you’ll only gain the unique cards each player has if you beat them, and that means you’ll need to sweep the tournament.
Note: The quest follows a somewhat different course if you refuse Sasha’s scheme or lose a round at Gwent, but since those both lead to sub-par rewards, they should be discounted as less than ideal ways to complete this quest, and won’t be mentioned here.
Return back to the common room where the next two opponents will be named. Seems like you’re playing Sasha. Head back upstairs and talk to Sasha, who insists you play to the best of your capabilities. That’s a little up to luck, isn’t it? She’s got a nasty Nilfgaardian deck, fielding plenty of high-strength Cards (both normal and hero cards), the "Dandelion" card, the "Villentretenmerth" card and the odd "Scorch" card. Strangely enough, she doesn’t make much use of "Tight Bond" cards, nor does she use - or really have much of a way to counter - weather cards, but considering how many hero cards she plays, weather cards will probably hurt you more than her anyway.
The real difficulty in facing her stems from the absurd amount of "Decoy", "Medic" and "Spy" cards she has, which she’ll gladly use to either perpetuate her strongest cards in later rounds, or to constantly threaten to out-card you by playing and re-playing "Spy" cards. She’s the only player in the game that has a realistic shot of out-powering and out-carding the best Northern Kingdoms deck you can assemble, even if you draw a good hand. On top of this she’ll use her "Emhyr var Emreis, the Relentless" leader card to snatch a card from your discard pile, usually a "Medic" or "Spy" card.
She’s probably the toughest Gwent player you’ll face in the game, so if you beat her, kudos! It’s all downhill from here, in terms of difficulty.
|For defeating Sasha at Gwent||45 XP, Emhyr var Emreis, the Relentless Card|
Defeat her and you’ll immediately be put into a match with Finneas, who only agrees to play when faced with forfeiture. He’s by far the easiest opponent you’ve faced in this tournament, using a fairly standard Scoia’tael deck. He has a few Hero Cards, and high-strength cards, and some "Muster" cards, but honestly he can be easily defeated with a lucky hand of "Spy" and "Decoy" cards to simply out-spend him, or the ever handy "Villentretenmerth" and "Decoy" combo to blast away his "Muster" cards. This is good news for you, too, since you can’t save in between playing him and Sasha.
|For defeating Finneas at... life||45 XP, Francesca Findabair, Queen of Dol Blothanna|
After the match he’ll take offense at losing, and start a fight. Although he’s high level, if you know how to parry punches by now, he’s no more difficult than any other fist-fighter. Just parry, counter, and continue until he falls. Once he does, you’ll be able to challenge Count Tybalt for the grand prize. Save your game, then play Gwent with Tybalt.
Count Tybalt Match
As you might expect, he’s got a Monster deck. While these can be initially challenging, by now Monster decks are very predictable. Use "Spy" cards to out-card him (a tactic which doesn’t work as well for him when he attempt to "Decoy" your Spy cards back at you, since the Monster decks relies heavily on "Muster" cards), and if you’re lucky, you’ll get "Villentretenmerth", which you can spam with "Decoy" to obliterate said "Muster" combos. When you defeat him, you’ll get yet another Leader card; "Eredin, Destroyer of Worlds".
|For defeating Count Tybalt at Gwent||72 XP, Eredin, Destroyer of Worlds Card|
Once you are victorious you and Count Tybalt will be informed that some dastardly thieves sneaked off with the purse! Sasha proclaims her innocence to Geralt, and he takes her at face value. Agree to help her recover the coin - your coin - and she’ll smooth talk her way past a guard. Follow the guard upstairs to the scene of the crime, where, after more wordplay from Sasha, you’ll be left alone. Use your Witcher Senses and search the dead guard, then investigate the scratch on the floor near the door to the north. Once done head out onto the balcony and search a crossbow bolt tied to a string to the east.
Geralt and Sasha will talk some more and deduce a probable sequence of events. Head downstairs and leave the brothel to find a search area along the north-eastern corner of said brothel. Activate your Witcher Senses and investigate some rope, after which Geralt will detect a scent trail. Follow the trail south then up some stairs to find a box on the ground, which bears markings that lead Sasha to suggest a specific warehouse.
|For following the thief's trail||45 XP|
Head to a warehouse along the south-western edge of Novigrad’s central district where you’ll rendezvous with Sasha, who is sporting a sensible change of attire. Circle around to the northern end of the warehouse (perhaps stumbling upon the wagon the thieves used earlier) and climb some boxes to reach a wooden platform that will grant you access to the warehouse.
Go through a window and drop down to the floor to find the thieves loitering around along the south-eastern side of the building, led by their boss, who is, as expected, one of your fellow Gwent players. Violence is, of course, unavoidable, and these Bandits are quite powerful (level twenty-four), but despite being possibly out-matched, there are a few factors that make this fight winnable. First, you have lots of room to retreat. Second, countering a few aggressive Bandits isn’t too hard, regardless of their level. Third, you can use hit and run tactics, the good old Strong Attack/Dodge combo that works so well. Fourth, Sasha will help out, and she’s powerful and invincible, so while you play defensively, she will likely do most of the work.
After they’re all dead, Sasha will invite you to dinner at the Kingfisher. Question her further and she’ll give you her almost-real name, after which feel free to accept the dinner invitation. You’ll rejoin your conspirators back at the aforementioned inn, where Geralt is telling a story. Sick of the small talk, Sasha - or whoever she really is - will invite Geralt upstairs for an intimate re-enactment of his past exploits. This ends the quest "High Stakes". Geralt got a bit of coin, a few new Gwent cards, and got laid. All in all, a good day for Geralt. Read the note "Letter from Cantarella" on the bed when you come to - ah well, easy come, easy go.
|For stealing back the tournament purse||4500 Crowns|
Did You Know?: The quest Geralt is telling Sasha about during their dinner date is the quest "Blue Eyes" from the first Witcher game. A member of the Order of the Flaming Rose (a militant branch of the cult of the Eternal Fire) asked you to look for his sister, who had taken up working at a brothel run by Vampires. It says something awfully bad about you when your sister would rather be under the protection of Vampires than you.