The dates and locations of the upcoming Gwent Challenger bouts have been revealed. The April editions of the tournament will take place on April 28th and 29th, in the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland. Yes, you heard right. The tournament will take place in a salt mine. No, there won’t be any fighting to the death. As far as we know, at least. Do bring a helmet.
It’s all part of a ploy to “immerse participants and online audiences in the experience”. You may have noticed some next level cosplays at their events, or the large wooden tables with engravings that make them look like Gwent boards. The effort to make it a different kind of spectacle is there.
The mine itself is actually a cultural heritage of Poland, as far as UNESCO is concerned. It’s a pretty big deal in Polish history, a vast underground system built over several centuries. Here’s what Rafał Jaki, product director of Gwent, had to say about it:
The change of venue for the April tournament, which was initially set to take place in the United States, continues the creative direction we established with the previous event in the series. We want our tournaments to be as exciting to watch, as they are to compete in. To make that happen, we focus on finding the coolest places and ways to make the streaming experience as fun as possible. Community feedback from December’s Challenger was great and we really like to raise the bar for ourselves with everything we do. If you enjoyed your trip to the Nilfgaardian stronghold of Moszna Castle, you’ll definitely love the what we have in store for you at the salt mines.
Finally, there’s that trailer we mentioned. It’s not much, but it will give you a glimpse of the salt mines. You’re better off googling some images or something, though.