Cards that should change to make Duelyst more fun (Or why Nimbus and Kron need to die)


Hey all, myw here. Played for nearly a year now, Regular S-rank lurker, and since the month’s patch came out with no balance touches so I won’t be wasting my breath for at least another half month, I want to talk about what I think are the current Ills in Duelyst, and how it could become better. I assert that Duelyst is primarily a healthy game and most of the ills stem from a few cards. I’ll give the list of unhealthy cards first, and then I’ll explain why.

Here is my list of cards, in approximate order of "toxicity"
C. Burst
Mirror Meld(?)
Chakri Avatar(?
Reaper of Nine Moons
Lantern Fox
Shadow Sister kelenio
Divine bond(?
Abyssal crawler
Owlbeast Sage
4 Winds Magi

A lot of players feel similarly on many of these cards, but I’m sure some of them are strange picks. I’ve also denoted cards that aren’t 100% problems so much as dangerous synergywise with ?*. An important thing to note is that not all of these things need to change. Changes to top cards is a rippling effect, and stuff towards the bottom are not pressing.

These cards are all on the strong end, but inherently being strong isn’t a bad thing. Cards like healing mystic, primus fist/shieldmaster, Pandora, spell jammer are strong too, but less complained about. The difference, and what I believe is one of duelyst’s core ills, is frustration. Another way to put it is: “fun to play against.” This is a problem that pervades duelyst and turns off players from spending more time, even if the game was mostly skillful and fair. The negative moments stick with you.

Frustration comes from a couple of different aspects, many of which extend into their own large playing issue. Most cards are problematic in several aspects. I’ll be talking about a few faces of that frustration here.

Power level: many of the cards here are simply too powerful and act as power spikes. Power spikes are frustrating because the power of the games plays can be overly determined by draws. Under any balance philosophy, this should be mitigated. Key examples: Kron, nimbus

Limited Answers and Snowballing: This may be the most pervasive problem in Duelyst, even though power level is the most obvious. In the most reductive state, minions can either be beaten by spells invested from hand, or minions on board. In Duelyst board is so important that it will often be part of the answer to whatever your opponent tosses your way. But, many cards can be played to only have one or two answers, and without those answers the game spirals out of control. Now, these cards might even be balanced by their average case, but the frustration of not having a specific answer falls under the same issue as Power Levels: game plays are overly determined by draws. Limited answers are also often part of the card’s power level, but that should generally scale more closely with cost and cards invested. Egregious examples: Nimbus, Shadow Sister

A secondary issue with power levels and limited answers is that when those cards are popular and dominant, they take up deck space to play or tech against, making players feel less in control of their meta decisions, which is inherently unfun. A big example at the moment is Kron. You want to play 3 Kron, and usually you want to play Kron answers, assuming your deck is slow at all. That’s already a lot of dedicated slots, and that isn’t accounting for the dispel you need to pack to beat Vetruvian’s train of strong effects, or Songhai’s scaling-out-of-control minions.

RNG(Variance): People left hearthstone because variance, or RNG, was the name of the game. A little RNG isn’t bad, but RNG with high variance rips decisions from players hands, and bad scenarios feel bad for both players. The earlier the variance happens, the worse it is, too. Key examples: Jaxi, Reaper of the Nine Moons

Uninteractivity: It’s not fun to be beaten by combos you couldn’t react to, especially when they are particularly fast/efficient. Songhai is the usual culprit here. I think enough people have talked about this topic that I won’t need to bother.

Now, I’ll explain why each of the cards listed are particularly frustrating/damage the game.

Kron : Obvious. It’s too strong, dominates deck slots, and has massive RNG swing potential with good spawns (ranged or forcefield), and will snowball the game.

Nimbus : Similar to Kron, but slower and potentially more frustrating over all, as Obelysks by design are snowballing cards. A damage trigger effect with 8 health on 5 mana need not exist, especially when the minion it summons is so powerful. A lot of people say “It’s too slow” or “It’s not strong against the fast meta,” but that goes both ways: It’s such a strong card that, along with Kron, forces the deck design to be either faster, or removal heavy. Such a large contraint on playstyle, along with Kron, is not fun and chokes the life out of the game.

Kara: Snowball the general, and probably too powerful alone.

C. Burst : RNG nonsense thrust into a position of strength with the egg changes. There’s way too much variance for this to be healthy.

Zen’rui: Swing the minion, primarily harmful to the game due to the number of cards it removes from viability, and forces certain minions to be unfairly strong to be played. For example, Shadowsister and Dioltas are probably on the strong end, but are beaten back by Zen’rui’s unfair checking potential.

Mirror Meld(?*) : A new combo card, and potentially too strong as one, due to it’s uninteractivity and snowball potential.

Chakri Avatar(?*) : Snowballs far too hard too early, and a big part of why dispel is so important.

Reaper of Nine Moons : The (possibly second) biggest case of RNG in the game. It does not need to be this way. I believe it’s been argued that it was better if some people hated the card and some people loved it than neutral feelings all around. While that may be true, Its not very healthy when 9/10 players hate this card. RNG can exist, but this crosses most people’s threshold for bullshit.

Lantern Fox : Similar to nimbus but comes down earlier.

Shadow Sister kelenio : incredibly frustrating as a card, and probably overstated to balance it around Zen’rui.

Dioltas : Overstated, and only “balanced” because of Zen’rui. Too strong and eats away at deck diversity.

Jaxi : Way too big a RNG swing for how early it can come down.

Divine bond(?
) : These two go together, because they are only an issue because the other exists. It’s fairly uninteractive as a combo, especially with Aegis Barrier. It’s not a horrible balance issue, it just isn’t fun to play with or against.

Abyssal crawler : 1 mana : snowball the game. Like chakri, it’s too fast for a must remove card.

Death fire crescendo : Ultimate snowball card. Low on the list due to how it needs to be built around.
Owlbeast Sage :
4 Winds Magi : These two have the same issue, snowballing the longer they persist in a very dominant fashion. They are this low because they at least need triggers, unlike Kelenio.

I don’t actually expect most of this to be changed, and I know some of these items are influenced by my personal biases, but I strongly believe those cards towards the top objectively need to go. They have such a large influence on deck building and luck of the draw that they have a strong negative influence on the enjoyment players get out of the game.

Thanks for reading.



Really now, if you have that big of a list of cards that make the game “not fun”, I’m sorry to say mate, card games are not for you. Every single one of them has (and needs) powerful cards that make certain deck viable or competitive.

With that said, I do agree that kron is a little too much above the power curve of the game. Most of the others sounds just like too much salt on your meals tho :stuck_out_tongue:


ITT: Things I lost to.


So basically:

Snowball is bad.
RNG is bad.
Strong cards that require removal are bad.
Combo pieces are bad.

Maybe we should just stick to golems? Not the ones with too much HP though as they combo well with DB. Iunno, you do have some good points but the entire thread just sounds so blown out of proportion I can’t bring myself to take it seriously. It’s like you are purposely trying to make things sound way worse than they actually are in reality. I mean, saying stuff like Abyssal Crawler and Owl being problematic snowball cards? Come on. :expressionless:


As someone who’s first thread on these forums was on how global removal spells were a bad idea, I sympathize. However, as I’ve gotten more and more games under my belt, I’ve gotten a better grasp of the big picture that the devs are going for. They are not trying to avoid broken cards. They are trying to create an environment in which a select few broken cards can exist. The ones you’ve listed are more or less that list. All of them though can be countered (easily even by the right decks). For instance, my current deck (Songhai control) has only lost to Kron once. In like 15-20 times encountering him. Why? Because I have planned responses to him built in to my deck. Now, a more aggro deck than mine that doesn’t have any (or minimal) responses to Kron would find him a much bigger threat. And that’s really where the balance that the devs have created come to light. All of the cards on the typical “broken cards OP OP” lists have answers. Those answers just don’t appear in as many decks as they need to in order to keep them down. If everyone ran control decks, Kron would see much less play. If everyone ran aggro decks, aggro decks would start running Kron eventually as he would be an auto include. As it stands, I don’t see Kron in every deck (granted I’m only in gold/diamond ranks right now). That tells me that while Kron is strong, he’s not broken…yet. Just my two cents. I do wish Kron were a faction card, however. (Perhaps Lyonar.) Making it neutral uses up a “power slot” for all factions which seems to me limits future “power cards”.


Seriously, complaining about zen’rui was a bit whiney for me but saying

about jaxi and abyssal crawler is just too much. Answering those cards is what the game is about. Having cards in your deck to answer other decks in the meta is what all card games are about. Is the definition of meta game, the game inside the game. You can’t just build a deck and expect it to beat every thing else without considering what is the “else” your playing against.


There’s an old cartoon from years back. Two men walk out of a XXX theater. One turns to the other and says: “Loved her. Hated him.”

What is fun for one person is not fun for another. Similarly, what is frustrating for one person is not frustrating for another. And sometimes, things are the way they are because it’s the entire point.

I think that people often forget the basic reality of all games, which is that, in general, winning is fun and losing is not fun. Just as the guy liked the woman in the XXX movie and not the man (apologies for the hetero stereotyping here) so naturally it is going to be that cards that help you win are “fun” and ones that make you lose are “frustrating”. If they didn’t do whatever it is that frustrates you, you wouldn’t lose and you wouldn’t be frustrated! :slight_smile:

I do think you make some good points, and of course there are always a few cards that are overtuned and need to be tweaked. I think your list is a bit long, though, and includes both cards that really aren’t a problem and cards that are staples of particular factions. Who is going to run Lyonar without Ironcliffes and DB and Dioltas? Are they supposed to just peck you to death with Silverguard Squires? :slight_smile: Owlbeast Sage does not strike me as a big problem in this current meta of fast decks with gobs of removal and dispel. Etc. And if you can’t deal with an abyssal crawler in the first couple of turns, well, I don’t know what to say.

At the same time there are many other cards that some people would consider OP but didn’t make your list. Like Holy Immo, which is perpetually on the “unfair/OP/nerf” list and is also a Lyonar staple. When I read your list at the top I first thought of Deathfire Crescendo but you mentioned it later in your text. Um, what ‘setup’ does this require? Flood the board with wraithlings, slap it on a mini-Jax in a far corner, and if your opponent has no immediate answer the game is effectively over. Setup sure, but not much. If we are going to start nerfing or removing every good card that is part of a potent combo, what will we have left?

Nearly every deck has “uninteractive overpowered combos” that you can’t react to. And everyone constantly complains about them – when they are on the receiving end. But everyone also plays them, because the simpler name for “uninteractive overpowered combos” is “win conditions”.


Lots of complaints about RNG “swinginess”, but no mention of Nature’s Confluence? If something like Rawr, Gro, or Pax comes out, you can have a lot of trouble on your hands.


I am pretty sure Rawr doesn’t spawn from Nature’s Confluence.


Heeey, more complaining. Am I really the only one here who doesn’t mind all of these cards?


That’s really an unfair dismissal, you don’t regularly reach S-rank if you don’t like card games.

That said, I do see the word “snowball” come up way too much in the complaints. Like, Crescendo is a straight up win condition, it needs snowballing to work and there’s nothing wrong with that.


Something tells me, this guy has never crafted or played Nimbus. I could totally entertain an argument about Pax or Lantern Fox being up there with Kron. But Nimbus? You mean that card people started cutting copies of 3 weeks into the Shim’Zar meta, because the best Vet deck wants to streamline it’s pressure with things that matter more than a durdley control engine?

These are the sort of know-it-all, salt threads that make the Devs bury their heads about holding conversations with the community about balance. Nevermind that you just compared Nimbus, Jaxi and Ironcliffe Guardian to Kron, Kara’s BBS, and Reaper of the Nine Moons.


i’m not an s ranker or a diamond baby. i’m a shark that swims in the gold river ocean. unlike you i think we need more over powered cards. i think duelyst has hit the part where it needs more crazy cards to counter other crazy cards then just nerf everything. nerffing everything causes players to start hating the game, causes the game to become boring. but i have libertarian set of mind, to where people need more freedom then less.


No. Just remove the word “Random” from all card abilities = Problem solved.


I disagree. The more bursty and random this game gets, the less I like it.


Some cards simply wouldn’t exist because their mechanics wouldn’t work without the word “random”. Ones that summon units as a DW or at the end of the turn for example. And other than that some healthy randomness is needed in order to make the game less monotone, predictable and boring. Anyway, god knows we already had too much discussion about RNG and I doubt there’s anything new to say about it at this point so might as well not go into it.

Specifically about the cards OP mentioned, 9moons is the only real culprit when it comes to RNG. It’s just an awfully designed card, regardless of it’s power level (which is thankfully not high at the moment).

Burst also seems to have lots of variance but when you realize it only spawns one minion of each rarity type it’s actually not that problematic at all. Not to mention the card is usually decently easy to deal with so whatever.


see you and me are opposites. the more busty and random it gets, the more fun it becomes for me. i like making new things, different things, or just stuff i haven’t seen played. i also name decks weird things like fire truck. fire truck is probably not that original, its just blah but i havent stumbled upon to any decks like the such. from one person comment i guise they have ran into it a bunch of times. i get bored when i see the same decks over and over again. to me mechazor is a blight, but because how well it plays, but because its boring. “i play 1 minion, then another, then another, then another, then another and boom i got mechajerk.” i generally see it either as vanar or ventruvian. i like more the crazy stuff but my first real card game that i played was magic back in the onslaught time period. this was when you played against decks and dealt with angry infinite rapist squirrels. " the question is how many squirrels does it take to screw in a light bulb? " “i dont care because i’m throwing all squirrels at the problem.” i want more new deck ideas. i want to be able to run two factions in the same deck. i want super crazy stuff going on instead of boring everyone plays the same cards. if the game gets robust and loses you, so be it, i bet it will get more players then fewer. if it gets more boring, nerfed to high hell expect this game to die. the more oppressive and same old the game gets the more likely it will fall apart.


Increased RNG and burst does not mean increased variety. If you don’t believe me, look at Hearthstone.


did i say they needed more of the same cards? look through my comments. i said robust which means more options, not the same old. this is if you are replying to comment.


your list looks like every faction staple card. weirdly i don’t see any Magmar cards… maybe your bias to the green lizard.

Anyone want to place bets on this guys most played faction?