I have talked about on this subreddit about the "rock-paper-scisors" aspect of Gwent. Control beats engines, engines beat pointslam, pointslam beats control. I think most of us agree that, generally speaking, Gwent's "weapon triangle" goes a little bit like this.
Now, let's anlyse this in context. Let's see how each of this aspects factor into the different factions and attribute each a total score. A High performace will be awarded +2 points, a Medium will be 0, and a Low will be -2. Anything in between will be factored as +1 or -1 acordingly. Should the game be balanced, every faction should have the same score. Now, let's see what we get:
NR: Engines (High +2); Control (Medium 0); Pointslam (Low -2) = Total: 0
MO: Pointslam (High +2); Engines (Medium 0); Control (Low -2) = Total: 0
SK: Control (High +2); Pointslam (Medium 0); Engines (Low -2) = Total: 0
ST: Control (Medium High +1); Engines (Medium 0); Pointslam (Low -2) = Total: -1
SY: Engines (Medium High +1); Control (Medium High +1); Pointslam (Medium Low -1) = Total: 1
NG: Pointslam (Medium High +1); Control (Medium High +1); Engines (Medium Low -1) = Total: 1
You can see what the problem is with the last three. In all fairness, regarding SY and NH, both of these factions lack an overall place in this type of parametres: SY being based around their coin mechanic and NG being based around disrupting your opponent's deck. Still, for the sake of analysis, if simplefied to their core functionality, I think my assessment was at least fair. Regardless, for now, let's simply observe all these three separately.
Poor, poor ST. In my original assessment, I gave them the same score as the previous three by evaluating their engines as "medium high". But then I asked myself: are there engines really better than MO's right now? I think not. ST used to be a faction that balanced control and engines: their flavour consisted in a sort of strange harmony between the "paper" and the "scisors". However, with the nerf to sage and the overall powercreep of movement, the faction is now seeing dark, dark times. With 9.0, the faction has leaned towards their more control-heavy side; however, SK already does control better, and thus ST suffers.
It is hard to say what constitutes control and pointslam in SY. Is bounty a form of control or part of their engines? Is Whoreson an engine card or a control card? I would argue that these are indeed at least control aspects of SY, and thus should factor into their control "grade". Now, before 9.0, SY had little pointslam: their biggest points always come from their engines, either by damaging or by boosting. But, after Jackpot's passive got introduced, that changed completly. Every unit card that profits in high values became instantly a pointslam card. Afraid Sigi is gonna overprofit? He's a 9 now. And stuff like that. While that's not too much pointslam in a vacum, in the great scheam of things, it throws the game off of balance, as my proposed classification makes clear.
As I said previously, NG suffers from an overall lack of place in this system. Do locks count as control, or as engines? For the sake of simplicity, I counted them as a form of control ("engine" would be a title more fitting for cards like dames and enforcers). And, before 9.0, their pointslam would be more in a "medium" range. But now, with blightmaker and dead man's tounge, it has been severely increased, to the point that people have even been starting to complain that NG is turning into a pointslam faction.
So, how can this be fixed? Should my analysis be correct (or, at least, in the right track), how can we bring every faction to the same number? I believe there are two paths that can achieve that: one more straightforward and one I find more interesting.
Solution 1: Buff ST, Nerf SY and NG
I can already see the comments telling me to go jump off a bridge. As you can probably expect, this is the more straightforward solution: make ST's engines "great again" and tone down SY's and NG's pointslam. That should make the game more balanced, right? Well, yes, but would that be interesting? Personally, I think not.
Solution 2: Buff all the others
This, in my opinion, would be the more interesting solution. Just buff the other factions. NR doesn't need much to have a "medium low" on pointslam (their only real good option now for pointslam is AA, a couple of extra nice bronzes should do it); MO could use some goddman control, as most would likely agree; SK should have more engines that support their druids archetype; and ST should get better engines and perhaps a couple of better pointslam options, should they ever need them. Now, this would have to be done in such a way that each faction would still retain their core identity, without blending in together, but I think CDPR is more than capable.
I apologieze for the long text; if you made it to the end, you have more patience than a Ban Ard student! However, I think that I would have been unable to express my thoughts and ideas otherwise and, for all it's worth, I simply like to share and exchange them with others.