Balance, fractal replication


Can’t wait for magmar to have more broken cards :heart:



Former consistent S Rank Player, now forum ghost Thong Bonerstorm.

Fractal Replication seems a bit overpowered at first glance because its introduction in any other TCG/CCG would be absolutely bananas. Games that have good creatures with removal evasion (Hearthstone // MTG) or games where board states are typically less mutable (old Eternal // Gwent) would be over the moon for a 6 cost card that basically triples the threat in play.

However, Duelyst has a few things built into its design that make Fractal Replication significantly less useful than it seems:

  1. Duelyst has an extremely value-oriented meta.
    This means that almost every card is going to serve more than one function and that every mana crystal counts. This most often appears as a card that is a threat that also removes a threat (Sandswirler // Mankator) or as a removal that allows the player to maintain some level of card or value advantage.
    Fractal Replication does nothing on its own. This means it’s a dead draw on a topdeck and also that, unless the creature you might manage to copy has an EtB ability or Rush, then you have to wait an entire additional turn to see a return on the investment. This means that your opponent has at least three unique opportunities to handle the threat you’re creating or create threats for you to handle (probably both at once)

  2. Duelyst has a mana cap
    As I’m sure you’re aware, without extremely unusual circumstances the most mana a player will have to spend in a turn is 9. Most top-tier games of Duelyst are decided before that mana cap is reached.
    This means that in a most likely best case scenario, you’ll be able to sink 3 mana into a creature in order to use Fractal Replication in the same turn. This doesn’t provide very much value (most of the time) because a player could simply spend the same amount of mana to play 3 3-cost creatures. It maintains the status quo, but the player doesn’t profit or gain tempo from it. Also, as discussed in the first section, you are most likely waiting an entire turn to see a return on your mana investment.

  3. Duelyst has positioning
    Unlike almost every other CCG/TCG on the market, Duelyst has a board on which players and creatures stand and interact. This feature is pivotal to gameplay and is often times the deciding factor of a match. In most instances, things can only interact with one another within a certain range or set of ranges, and cannot affect a creature or life total directly unless it is within that range.
    This means that Fractal Replication has the added variable of positioning being stacked against its already underwhelming return on investment. The minion can only be copied onto spaces adjacent to the original minion, and if those spaces are too far away for an interaction to take place (or will be after the opponent takes their turn), then a player has too wait even longer to see any value come out of the 6 cost spell.

I hope this helps to explain why Fractal Replication seems good at first, but that it isn’t broken, and that it’s honestly super underwhelming once you’ve managed to build out your collection with some of the incredible cards that you can play for 6 mana.

If you ever have any questions, or want to take a deep dive on a particular card or strategy, never be afraid to post on the forums and @ me. I don’t play anymore, but that’s only due to a lack in content, transparency, and support from CounterPlay Games. I still lurk on the forums hoping for a renaissance of content and players.

Have fun!


I realized that I didn’t give you ways to fight against the card, and just talked about why it was weak. Taking into consideration that you have been playing against this card a lot recently, I’ll name the deck so that we can reference it easily:
Optimistic Midrange

I’m going to give some basic gameplay and deckbuilding tips, and then I’ll get into faction specific direct answers shortly thereafter. The following is in no way intended to be condescending, I just don’t know your rank, your experience, or how long you’ve been playing Duelyst:

The Four Corners
In almost every CCG there are four major archetypes into which a deck can fall: Aggro, Control, Mid-Range, and Combo. While they can occasionally overlap, these are the four major buckets into which a deck can fall.

Aggro decks forego their ability to manipulate, or really interact with, their opponent. Through cheap creatures and spells, their objective is to cut down their opponent before they have an opportunity to get the game rolling. In exchange for all of their early game power, aggro decks aren’t typically able to scale into the late game, and usually forego robust removal options, assuming instead that their opponent will be too close to death to rally and threaten.

This deck type would have the hardest time against Optimistic Midrange because if the opponent was able to survive until 6 mana, they will be most likely able to play cards that significantly outvalue anything in the Aggro player’s arsenal.
The best option as an aggro player would be to focus efforts on your opponent directly, so that they will be in lethal range by the time they would be able to play Fractal Replication.

Control decks are the opposite of Aggro decks in almost every way. They predominantly rely on spells and abilities to carry them through the early game or remove the threats their opponents may produce. They have to think about and calculate outcomes in order to decide the best opportunities to gain value from their spells or inhibit their opponent’s momentum. Often they value card advantage and have a single consistent win condition that they buy time for.

This deck type would likely have the easiest time against Optimistic Midrange because the opponent is going to have a very hard time keeping any creatures in play to target with Fractal Replication. Even if the opponent manages to get the spell off on a target, the control deck has time to build up answers, produce a more consistent threat, or even boardwipe the newly replicated creatures.
Nothing crazy has to happen here for the control player to win. This would follow the course of a normal control deck game.

Midrange is one of the harder decks to describe, but it basically focuses on the middleground between aggro and control. It prefers cards that have durability, utility , and that require several resources to take down. Midrange banks on its creatures outclassing aggro and its threats surviving control.

A midrange deck should do well into Optimistic Midrange, and can easily run 6 cost cards that make Fractal Replication look like a waste of mana. The most popular type of midrange deck when I stopped playing was Wanderer (I imagine this is still the case). Every card in a wanderer deck serves more than one function, and provides either immediate value for you or impending doom for your opponent.
Midrange decks win this matchup by focusing on playing cards that eliminate threats while generating threats (or by playing a threat that if destroyed would make more threats or improve another thing etc)

Combo decks are a strange corner because they rely completely on the synergy between specific cards. Quite often these decks simply win when that synergy is met (Decispikes). They vary wildly in win conditions and construction, and are built to assemble the game-winning combo as quickly and/or consistently as possible. Due to the need of specific cards, Combo decks often forego traditional staples and simply face tank or evade damage until their needs are met (Consistent 2 card combos often blend well into control shells)

The victor of this matchup is a tossup because the combo player’s objective is always to reach their combo. Hopefully they can do that before turn 6 or keep targets for Fractal Replication off the board.

Deciding your deck archetype is going to be key in your ability to determine how to win against any deck, but will also inform your decisions on how to handle specific cards or situations. As you garner experience, you’ll get better at determining what your opponent’s strategy is before they carry it out.

Faction-Specific Answers
Vanar has access to a number of options to handle Optimistic Midrange:

  1. Run an aggro / burn deck that kites about and burns your opponent’s face off before Optimistic Midrange can get rolling
  2. Run cards that silence or transform your opponent’s more daunting threats before they can be targeted with Fractal Replication
  3. Run a ramp deck that plays something terrifying before Magmar has a chance to even get to 6 mana
  4. Run cards with provoke or stun that delay the game and provide time to answer the threats OM may put out.


  1. Run an aggro deck that swarms the board and kills Optimistic Midrange before it can even finish reading Fractal Replication.
  2. Run removal spells that keep the board clear so OM has nothing to target with FR
  3. Take over your opponent’s creatures with cards like Mindlathe, Reaper, and that 1 cost card I forgot


  1. Outclass any midrange deck other than Wanderer between Fault/Kha
  2. Use removal to make your opponent feel like they’re spending mana for no reason other than to watch their life tick lower
  3. Swarm your opponent with angry tornadoes with T Rex arms.


  1. Use the best removal in the game to make sure your opponent has nothing
  2. Eat your opponent’s life total with a swath of cheap combos
  3. Use the slot you’re not wasting on FR to play almost any other 6 cost card for more value.
  4. Facetank everything with healing and beat anyone to death with your creepy lizard biceps1


  1. Hide in the corner with artifacts and burnspells as OM chases you while on fire
  2. Use arcanyst synergy to steal cards / deal damage / remove creatures and maintain card advantage all at once
  3. Stab everything and force your opponent to punch themselves in the mouth with Zendo’s fist.


  1. Use healnar to trade up constantly with very few repercussions
  2. Use removal to destroy ideal targets for FR
  3. Use durable creatures to force your opponent into trading multiple resources to keep you down.
  4. Use low cost high utility creatures to chunk out your opponent and keep them on edge.

Alternatively, if you wanted to build a deck with Fractal Replication as a centerpiece, you would be able to see the weaknesses of the card first hand, or climb with ease if it’s been lowkey OP this whole time.

If you’re looking into that, I would recommend copying cards that have immediate value or cards that are very difficult to kill. The golem that poops golems is a pretty cool target, but if he’s already survived a turn, your opponent is either confident they have impending lethal, or you have already won.


Great posts @scrublordscrub! I really appreciate the work you put in them!

Just kinda sad that OP isn’t replying anymore though he still lurks in the thread so I think he will read all of the positive answers! I hope people didn’t scare him away.
Hopefully next time a new guy is showing up with some beginner questions people will be more open and friendly (remembering how they felt about some stuff during their first week of Duelyst).


Thanks Boronian!
Yeah, I just can’t imagine we have many new players left.

That said, I think this is just a matter of people projecting the bitterness they feel toward the game on people who’ve just started out.

The divide between Bronze/Silver and Diamond/S players has never seemed larger to me. People who’ve been invested forever are still playing and have forgotten what it was like to discover things, and people who are just starting out are hitting a hard wall of gatekeepers that prevent learning and climbing.

It’s just sad.
Super sad.


There are more new players than you might think. Through my work on reddit and discord I see a lot of them.

But it is true that it isn’t easy to get into Duelyst and therefore we need to project a certain attitude to these people to help them along.

I also don’t see it as black and white as you do, there are still a lot of different skill levels in the game :slight_smile:


Yes Fractal should be nerfed…



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