So I was thinking about how Duelyst works, and how it doesn’t normally work, and I had an idea for a game of Duelyst that plays completely differently from the usual, the idea being to create a gameplay experience that rewards thoughtful placement and good trades. And here’s what I dreamed up: Chess with Starhorn, a deck that’s meant to be played in a friendly match against a card-for-card copy of itself:
With no out-of-hand damage against the enemy general, no hard removal, and no healing, all damage to Starhorn is permanent and all threats have to be dealt with with on-board resources, stun, provoke, dampening wave, deep impact and repulsor beasts. There’s no dispel besides tethermancers, you’ve got a bunch of vanilla units to play with, and there are several big threats in the form of diamond golems, razorcrag golems, thraexes, grimrocks and biomimetic hulks.
I imagine such a game might run long, with minions trading into minions a lot, but you have a decent number of cards that can manipulate the outcome of those minion brawls to try and corner the other Starhorn, so hopefully it shouldn’t drag too much.
…I’m not doing too much else right now. Does someone want to try this out?
Edit: Played a game against @phoinexflame. He had a solid first turn as player two with a greater-fortitude terradon. I put an earth walker on the mana spring, grabbed the other with my two-drop and tremored to stun the terra, then he dropped a grimrock which I was able to take out with a repulsor beast, Starhorn and my two-drop. I ended up having to retreat what I had left and put down a tethermancer to keep his buffed terra away, and it turned into a turn or two of building up forces while he figured out a way to advance and kill my tether without losing his terra’s buff.
He put down a chirpuka in the back line somewhere in all that so everything I summoned had to be awkwardly positioned to avoid making lots of pukas. I was able to get both my biomimetic hulks building, but he was only a step behind me in doing the same thing, and cornered me with a diamond golem smashing up my unbuilt hulks while a new earth walker and a bunch of other stuff threatened me. I badly placed a grimrock which he killed, lost a phalanxar to dampening wave plus general punch, and then hail-Mary replaced and drew into a wood-wen which stuck provoke to a terradon, locking Phoinex down, and a repulsor beast which kicked his diamond golem away.
His earth walker traded with the repulsor and wood-wen, and he used deep impact plus the chirpuka to kill the terradon so he could make a break for it, but a general punch plus greater fortitude on a newly-built hulk was enough to finish him off. I hit him for exact lethal that turn, fourteen, and I think I ended with nine health left. I probably would have lost without getting that second repulsor.
Overall, I had fun with it. It wasn’t as slow as I was afraid it was going to be.
Edit: New version of the deck. The veteran silithars came out, because I deemed them too bad even here, and dust wailers went in. Since they’re the only flying minion and the only out-of-hand damage in the deck, maybe they’ll be good for something. Or maybe they’ll always get replaced and I’ll remove them for something else.
Edit: New version of Chess with Starhorn. My concern with this iteration is that maybe this is too much removal. Feedback pliz.
Edit: Changed the name of the topic from Chess with Starhorn to Duelyst Chess. The concept doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to Starhorn.
Edit: The repulsor beasts felt too powerful given the nature of the game. I also realized that the previous builds didn’t have eight two-drops, not counting wood-wens as two-drops at all because wasting the opening gambit on one of those little guys sucks pretty hard. Also, to make up for the loss of the pushdogs, I stuck in a third tremor, which required one other card to come out, so amplification went down to two.
There, eight real turn-one plays. I felt rancours were reasonable here, since you can’t inflict out-of-hand self-damage to buff them.