As we already participated in Blapril 2020, why not in yet another blogging event as well? The following post has been written as part of the Blaugust: Promptapalooza. You can read the details and a list of participants in Belghast’s event guide, but long story short: Every day, another participant states a prompt and whoever feels like it writes a blog post about it.
Our prompt today will be Write that one post you wanted to write so often, but always postponed. Finally do it!
And thus we did:
A skin, a skin! My queendom for a skin!
Once upon a time there was a Demon Cat playing Gwent. Against all odds she upheld her lonely crusade and lobbyism campaign and put pressure on the developers on Discord whenever she could to finally bestow a female leader skin on the faction of Skellige. This pretty much started with the decoupling of leader skins from abilities as it was no longer necessary to play a certain leader for its ability. The vanity aspect of the skins became much more important and thus the potential to finally get her wish granted was there.
Don’t make it sound like some fairy tale, Poppy. It is not about feminism either, at some point the campaigning itself became an additional part of the game, just like the banter among the factions. Plenty of Skellige’s flavour texts and the reward book entry for Gudrun hint that a Skellige woman leading forces at the battlefield of Gwent would not be an exception, but in fact quite normal.
You can click the card names to see their premium versions.
All card art and premiums were taken from The Voice of Gwent.
Female leader skins of other factions
To state the obvious first: Skellige lacks a female leader skin which this blog post is all about. The most recent additions to the ladies’ roster were Anna Henrietta for Nilfgaard with Crimson Curse and Gudrun Bjornsdottir with the Novigrad expansion – both leave their respective factions, Nilfgaard and Syndicate, with one female leader skin each.
Monsters have a woman for each taste: Do you fancy long legs? Arachas Queen can provide not only two, but six of them. If you rather love to get kissed, Gernichora’s leeches will gladly press their lips onto your body. Her skin even got a visual overhaul so you can enjoy her in all her glory. While a woman is certainly not only about looks, this is still something to appreciate.
Each of the remaining factions Scoia’tael and Northern Realms have three female leader skins to choose from.
While all of Northern Realms’ skins are of noble blood, each of the three ladies has a distinct theme: While Adda certainly is a princess, she and Poppy could not be more different as Adda is shown in her almost feral state at the brink of being a Striga. Queen Meve does not look faint-hearted either, even less so in her Silver Sovereign skin with bloody armour. Meanwhile Queen Calanthe looks very royal, considering her dress and hairstyle. But do not forget that she rightfully earned the title Lioness of Cintra in her youth.
Scoia’tael’s leaders are not only different in their appearance, but also represent the multicultural aspect of the faction: We have the dryad queen Eithné, decorated with flowers and wielding her trusty bow. Francesca Findabair, powerful elven sorceress and member of the Lodge surrounded by the glow of her magic and last but not least a literal goddess in Dana Méadbh, overgrown with the nature she represents.
Meanwhile in Skellige...
Skellige has a god as a leader skin as well: While Svalblod looked more like an oddly cute cuddly toy (I liked, him okay? And he really seemed like he could use some love… Don’t judge.), the 7.1 update turned him into the abomination of twisted flesh the old card art depicted. However, the changes to his model where not only visual but also had a technical aspect to them; like Chemilinski, one of the Reds, explained:
“We’ve used a new animation method where the individual muscle groups were modelled and then simulated for each animation, so there’s now this more weightier, realistic movement to the model’s body.
It’s the first model we’ve done this for, and intend to do it for future ones where appropriate. The next step is simulating fabric like this, but that’s a more advanced step that’s being worked towards.”
And it shows! Most certainly a worthy overhaul, even though I it made me much less inclined to cuddle with him.
The other Skellige leaders all seem to follow the generic-warrior-guy theme. While Arnjolf the Patricide sticks out, wearing no armour or body hair, the remaining four look very same-y. Eist Tuirseach also has no beard and at least a different pose on top, but if sitting is what defines the leader skin, it is somewhat disappointing. This pose also makes him look a little sad and secluded as he pays more attention to sharpening his sword than watching the battlefield. Maybe all he needs is a hearty bear hug like the one offered by Tuirseach Bearmaster?
All of them wear chain mail, albeit in different colours; a magnificent beard and joggle whatever they are holding in their hands once in a while. I do not mean to be unfair, to me it is just not that appealing.
Yustianna an Craite
Never heard of her? You are probably born a couple of decades too late. Lucky you, as you did not have to fear her. Yustianna is mentioned in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in the location description of Yustianna’s Grotto:
“Yustianna was a pirate born of a Skelliger from Clan an Craite and a captive woman taken during a raid. In her time she was feared on the Continent from Ofir to Zanguebear. Known for her skill as a navigator and unmatched master of various weapons, she quickly became the terror of the Great Sea, and when she returned to Skellige, they say this cave is where she hid her loot.”
Pillaging, raiding, a skilled warrior who instils fear into the enemy’s heart – All qualities of a good Skelliger she acquired by working her way up to the top; from a captive’s daughter to the terror of the Great Sea. Gwent even has Pirate, Raid and Ship cards which might become an entire archetype with more support – and she should be the leader of it.
I hate to bring it up, Easha, but I am afraid Gudrun already fills that niche of a female Skellige pirate. She amassed reputation and riches by sailing the Great Sea as well before settling down in Novigrad. It is rumoured that her ship Flyndr is so heavy from all the booty inside, that it will probably never leave Novigrad’s port again.
We already had Dagon and now have Dana and Svalblod, so why not bring yet another goddess? Modron Freya is the counterpart to Melitele which is worshipped at the continent in their three aspects: virgin, mother and crone. Especially the second one is often depicted in the cult of Freya. There is a statue of a pregnant woman in loose ropes depicted on Sigrdrifa’s Rite. Only women may serve as priestesses of the goddess of fertility, love and beauty. However, maybe a pregnant goddess should not stand at the side of the battlefield even though, now that I think of it, she could be an evolving leader: A virgin during the first round, mother in the second, and finally crone in the third one.
Oh, and Easha? Her sacred animals are a falcon… and a cat.
While we are at the topic of animals, Skellige’s druids have a strong connection to nature and thus animals. A flaminica, the highest title held by a druidess of a circle, would make a fine leader skin as well. I actually expected Crowmother to be introduced as leader skin with the Merchants of Ofir expansion, as she was part of the teaser and hinted the new Crow Clan archetype of the faction.
Cerys an Craite
A fan favourite for a female SK leader, even though it leads to one question: If Cerys, why not Hjalmar? To which I raise yet another question: Why not Hjalmar… as well? Just like the evolving leader mentioned earlier, this could be one leader represented by both siblings: If round one you would have Cerys (ladies first after all) leading your army and her taunts to choose from. During round two Hjalmar takes her place just to be joined by his sister again in the final round and the taunts would be mixed. However, this might be a little unfair for you opponent if your leaders outnumber theirs.
Ciri’s Skellige skin from the Journey
This one was a pleasant surprise and is a very pretty band aid for the lack of a female Skellige leader – and yet just a band aid. That aside, please do me a favour and do not use the available axe as her weapon. She still uses the same animations as if she were holding a sword, which looks utterly wrong with this weapon. The other fitting cosmetics like the helmet and the frame complement that outfit well.
And now please make some room in your bags as we will send you over to Bhagpuss’s blog Inventory Full. We also recommend checking out all the other Promptapalooza posts for today’s prompt we gave above. Enjoy your reading journey across all our blogs!
P.S.: It’s already been a year since our first post. Happy birthday Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming! Sadly Easha refuses to throw a party =( A lot has happened but it’s been a good year for GGGG – last but not least thanks to our readers. Thank you for being with us.
Onwards to a bright, sparkling and pink future!