I freakin hate that card, which is a shame because i absolutely love the card artwork.CARD OF THE MOMENT: Iris’ Companions
Provision Cost: 7
Deploy: Draw a card of your choice, then discard a random card. If you have Iris in hand, choose which card to discard instead.
Use Frequency: rare
Notable Synergies: Iris: Shade, Iris von Everec, cards you want in your graveyard, cards you need in hand.
Comments: Let’s play a game of “Guess My Deck”. You have one clue – the deck was significantly improved by the inclusion of Iris’ Companions.
Begin by considering decks that benefit from the presence of Companions. Because the discard is random, I won’t play it for the discard unless I can beneficially include one of the Irises (preferably both). And because I risk discarding a critical card, I won’t play it for the draw unless I can include one of the Irises, or I have nothing I mind discarding, or I am so desperate for a certain card that I am willing to risk a bad discard. And because of the card’s conditions, I won’t play it if I have easier options to use. That narrows possible decks a bit – both MO and SK have clearly superior discard options and other factions are pretty limited in using cards from their own graveyard, or at least they would rather the cards get to the graveyard via the board. But for drawing cards, there are better tutors (e.g. Oneiromancy) – unless we specifically want the card in our hand and not directly played to the board. And even then, NR has access to a leader (Pincer Maneuver) that does a much better job of drawing desired cards to hand. Two strategems also do better (Mask of Uroboros and Cursed Scroll), though these only help on blue coin. And Selective Mutation does better for adrenaline cards.
I don’t guess I will use Companions to get a juicy discard – it will have to be to tutor a card to my hand. But what do I need in hand instead of played to the board? Now the possibilities are really limited: initiative cards (Regis, Scorch, Igni, or Blizzard), cards that trigger another card’s effect if in hand (Serrit or Auckes, dragons for Eyck, Palmerin or Milton) cards that other cards can copy if in hand (bronze firesworn cards for Ulrich, special cards for Land of a Thousand Fables, bronze soldiers for Ramon, bronze NR units for Adalia, Bronze Units for Raffard’s Vengeance, 10 provision or lower monster units for Caranthir, bronze units for Operator, special cards for Fercart), cards that actually do something while in hand (Wanderers or Torque) or cards you really want to boost in hand (Aglais). I will not count cards that contribute toward or receive a minor boost if in hand.
Most of these listed options are simply not worth a 7-provision card to bring them to hand on a low tempo play. The only exceptions that strike me are the four initiative cards, Aglais, Torque (in a non-devotion deck), a handful of Caranthir targets, or possibly a couple of operator targets. Because there is a relatively high probability that a given card is drawn by round three (and thinning generates more points than Companions), and because there is a good chance that at least one of two bronze cards will be drawn round one, Companions will most benefit a deck that needs a particular gold card in hand in round 1. That leaves Aglais or non-devotion Torque.
Non-devotion opens a whole new realm of possibilities for a Torque deck. Companions gives that deck some much needed consistency. That is the deck where I first found Companions actually useful.
And i maybe getting into conspiracy theory territory, but to me that card is one of the best proofs that the RNG algorithms implemented in Gwent are awful and do a terrible job at being random.
Because from my experience, and from what ive seen, (before that change was introduced when you have Iris in hand) the Companions discards the card you selected (and probably the one you least wanted to see discarded) way more often than the rest, even when you have 4,5,6, 7 cards in hand and the odds were supposed to be "minimal".
Ive been seeing the Great Dandelion YT channel for years and that thing is littered with clips of Iris Companion's terrible discards (and yes, im aware of confirmation bias). For a card that that is rarely played, it sure pops up a lot in those videos...
By now, most players know by now they should avoid that cursed card.