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There are four different types of resource in Gwent:
Cards can be milled down for scraps, then those can be used to craft better cards.
Milling is performed from the card collection screen, and destroys a card in return for a small amount of scraps – the resource used in crafting. You might be tempted to mill down every card you’re not using for your current deck to get a stack of scraps, but it’s not a great idea; when the meta shifts or you graduate to higher-level play you’ll probably want a new deck, and if you’ve destroyed everything from that faction, you’ll be a long way behind.
So confine yourself to milling duplicates: you can’t place more than three of any kind of card in a deck, and you can equip those same three cards in any number of decks, so ditch any spares immediately. There are many cards with a limit of one per deck, so recycle even doubles on those.
Crafting is the best way to get new cards if you don’t want to keep spending money. It’s slow, but it’s also certain – you choose the card you want, and spend the resources to get it. This is also performed on the card collection screen.
Think carefully about your crafting choices. Even if you did mill every spare card from your starter deck and kegs, you still won’t be able to afford all the cards you want. In general, you should focus on the basics first, grabbing the cheaper cards you can play in combos rather than the big rare ones, so you have some reasonable cards before you finish building your deck – but keep an eye out for those really powerful cards that act all on their own without requiring other cards you haven’t yet obtained, because they can change everything.