Do Bloodborn Spells limit design space?


A lot of game designers and gaming enthusiasts have commented that the hero power of Hearthstone really limits the design space of Hearthstone. It permanently affects what faction is strong and weak in Arena (Gauntlet). It also permanently affects the balance of the factions in constructed play. The stronger the hero power, the stronger the undesirable effect.

I’m wondering if current players agree with this. By having Bloodborne spells, Counterplay Games is limiting the design space and increasing the long term challenges of balancing the game.

I downloaded this game for the first time after the Steam release, and I’m thinking I don’t want to invest time into this game - as I believe the design of Bloodborne Spells will hinder the long term design space of the game as it has done for Hearthstone.

Perhaps if the bloodborn spells be changed to abilities obtained by artifacts. Or make all bloodborn spells very weak, so they would only affect the game and board state slightly. Kara’s +1/+1 to all units in hand, for example, seems like it will really make balancing this game difficult in 1-3 years.


With the exception of Kara, the current BBS spells are fine.


imo the bbs are fine because unlike HS the position factor in this game is a thing to keep in mind, i.e Paladin HS have a summon spell like vet and abys, but in HS minions range are as if they can reach all the map in a duelyst analogy, aside the BBS may be changed in the future based in the way the devs balance things (shadow creep was a “core” mechanic and it changed utterly)


Unlike in hearthstone, Duelyst has alternate generations, so each reaction had 2 BBS currently. They have the option to make more available later on as well, and currently I feel that the BBS are different enough that they won’t limit design space. Of course, some may have better synergy in some decks rather than others, but they can be used in a variety of decks as well (example: Vaath and Starhorn aren’t really deck specific, with the exception of 2 draw synergy cards, yet they are more based on preference. Starhorn is argued to be weaker due to him also giving the opponent a card). Also, I wouldn’t say that Duelyst is exactly like hearthstone, but similar to most CCG and TCG alike.


The big differences are:

-Bloodborne spells arent available every turn until lategame. This means they are less likely to be used as a crutch, instead they must be supplemented by deck design to be useful.

-There are alternate bloodborn spells for alternate generals. Potentially Counterplay could continue releasing generals until there are many, many options per faction, and there wouldnt be anything wrong with that. Each general could be supported by a specific subset of cards their bloodborne spell allows them to use better, allowing a diversity of playstyles.

Right now counterplay is still working on the second point- they are searching to give us real reasons to play alternate generals. To some degree, they have succeeded- Faie/Kara and argeon/ziran now have their own legitimately viable niches, as do Lilithe/Cass (though lilithe is a bit weaker at this moment), and Sajj/Zirix (although there isnt quite enough to differentiate those two yet). Kaleos and starhorn are overshadowed at the moment, but that will change. I see the future of duelyst involving a fluid meta of many generals.

So no, I don’t think that bbs’s will limit duelyst as hero powers have hearthstone. Although I agree that Kara needs to be gd changed…


@mushymango Starhorn would like a word with you.

@pedman Your concerns are entirely valid for limited formats, and I would not be surprised to see Duelyst’s Gauntlet follow the same path as Hearthstone’s Arena (I cannot imagine Kaleos, Cassyva, or Starhorn ever seeing non-masochistic use). However, in regards to constructed, CPG has demonstrated their willingness to change (or neuter) BBS’s with Zi’ran and Zirix. Although, CPG’s hesitation to change Kara’s or Starhorn’s BBS is quite frankly beyond me.


Literally everything seems to be hindering design space these days. One more thread like this and it will become an official memey. Anyway, I’m still waiting for you to say a reason why it limits the design space. Explaining how BBS works isn’t really that. We all play the game and know how it works.


Yes they limit design space. Having multiple generals with different BBS means you need to balance (faction) cards against áll faction BBS (you can’t make a card for Vaath that’d be broken with Starhorn), and Neutrals have to be balanced against áll existing BBS. Question answered.

Now is that a bad thing? Do the benefits of BBS outweigh the limits they create? I think so.


Doesn’t every card limit design space in some way?


There is actually a way to avoid that albeit a little bit gimmicky one.

Since Duelyst has a bit in common with tabletop wargames like, for example, Warmachine, why not have “loyal” units which will only usable with a specific general? A lot of wargames do that to avoid broken synergies. It is a bit of crutch, but it can allow CPG to both keep the General diversity and produce some really fun synergy cards.


I do actually hope to see cards like that, it’s not the most elegant thing in the world but Loyal/Familiar cards do open up a bunch of possibilities so I’m all for them.


Thanks for the responses. Based on your responses, it seems you believe the following:

  1. Bloodborn spells indeed creates significant long term challenges to Gauntlet in its current state and may prove insurmountable.

  2. Bloodborn spells add inherent challenges for balancing, but it’s effects on Constructed play are not as significant as long as Overpowered BBSs are avoided.

  3. Right now, the BBS in constructed play is adding variety and the design choice is largely supported.

  4. Creation of neutral and faction cards that interact with BBS actually opens up more design space, but this still does not solve the problem for Gauntlet.

Ex: artifact: deal 2 damage to enemy general when it casts its Bloodborn spell

Ex: artifact: Give your General +1 Attack each time a BBS is casted.

Ex: spell: enemy general cannot use its bloodborn spell on next turn. draw a card.

  1. Creating cards for specific generals opens up more opportunity as well and gives opportunity for a new lever for balancing in constructed play.

Conclusion: BBS as a design choice is not limiting design space for constructed play in the same manner in Hearthstone. It still creates overall balancing changes in drafting (Gauntlet) play without careful design adjustments and impirvements.


You arent going to invest time (play) duelyst because of bbs? Lolwut…

The spanish inquisition declares the design space of this thread limited!

Its a game, have fun, lol :slight_smile:


Yes to create interesting unique builds bbs limit the design space.It is on purpose another word for limit is focus.

BBS focus general towards a certain play style and give them weakness and strengths.You want bbs to limit but not be too limiting.Too limiitng example is the priest in HS.Kaleos is about the perfect example of what a bbs should be it puts limitation but allows space for different builds.


I got a 12/0 gauntlet with cassyva lol


Congrats! I’ve gone 12-2 with Starhorn and Kaleos, weird. If only there was a descriptive statistical concept that could capture this phenomenon… Oh well :pensive:


I dont see anyway in which BBS wont limit gauntlet. It happens in HS: warrior and priest suck in arena, while paladin, mage or druid (examples) are very strong without even considering the card.

In general: i see BBS more like tools in the sense that they cant be spammed, amd that you for most of them, need either a friendly unit or an enemy one to work.
In the end, every other rule you put into a game, limits it. Cards themself limit each other.


I dont ever see myself getting more than 5 with kaleos lol so congratz. Anyway, it is true that some BBS are stronger in gauntlet (oh lilithe!)