Duelyst Chess, a different kind of Duelyst match


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.


Sure, Friend invite sent :wink:


lemme know the results. im a sucker for new game modes. and let me know what problems you run into, game modes always need tweaks before finishing


All these 2 ofs trigger me.

Please tell me the results.


Chess is full of 2-ofs though :stuck_out_tongue:


Except those army of pawns… It also means we should be running a 16 card deck.


Just put up an edit talking about the first game. I had fun with it, read up. And thanks to @phoinexflame for helping to test it out.


@unreason already edited the OP where he describes how the match went. It was a pretty fun game overall, maybe we will do this again sometime.

Also, Woodwen OPed pls nerf JK, don’t take it seriously guys


I was just struck with a sad thought. I think veteran silithars are still the weakest card in this deck. The opponent will have so many minions out that killing the egg shouldn’t be a problem at all, so the rebirth is nothing more than a minor speed bump, and the stats are still trash for cost.

I think I actually need to find a card to replace them, I feel like they’re too weak here. That’s just embarrasing.

Maybe whistling blades? Or would they be too strong here? Possibly ephemeral shrouds for a little more removal, or primus shieldmasters for more provoke. Anyone got any standout ideas on this one?

Maybe adamantite claws?


I would replace Veteran Silithar with either Collosus (might be to strong in this deck) or Primus Shieldmaster.

Whistling blade shouldn’t be in here, he would be way to easy to remove unless your opponent has no board at all.

Claws is also an interesting option, so it might be worth trying it out.


Thinking about it, claws might not be a good fit. The things you’ll want to kill with them are the things that will jack your general up, and your positioning will probably end up really vulnerable too, so they’d probably just get used as out-of-hand damage. Meh. And kolossi are too answer-or-die, I think, the +4/+4 every turn is too out-of-control. Primus shieldmasters might be the best choice. I thought about bellow, too, but I feel like that’d be too strong.

I could get really wacky and throw in dust wailers. That might be fun. At the very least, there’s a card that saw no play ever, so it might be kinda cool to run it. I’m kinda liking the sound of that, actually. It would combo with deep impact at high mana to kill something you really want dead, too.

Edit: Alright, new version of the deck up. If the dust wailers don’t stick, golden justicars might also be fun as an off-the-wall card choice, thought they won’t have much to combo with. Or maybe even thunderhorns. With nothing that specifically combos with them, playing around them would be doable.

Sunsteel defenders could actually also be an interesting choice, since with all the minions on the board, dealing with forcefield would be more manageable, and would kind of change their dynamic. Or young flamewings for another flyer. I even toyed with the idea of emberwyrms, but that wouldn’t be good for this at all, winning would largely come down to drawing your emberwyrm first.


@unreason I’m thinking about cutting it down to this after our games. I really, really like Chirpuka… but I cut it so that it’s more budget. We could swap it in for something. Cuts are really just because the inconsistency in the deck makes it feel more like Rock Paper Scissors than Chess. I’d like to make it 100% 3ofs but it’s difficult to cut cards.

If you guys have the cards, go try this out with a friend (feel free to add me ign same as here)! It’s a lot of fun playing a round that’s basicaly 100% an even matchup (deck doesn’t feel like it has an advantage P1 or P2).


Why does noone run silluetes in this


More budget does make sense. What do you think about the dust wailers? I feel like if we go this direction it would make sense to cut them to up the count on other cards.

I’d love to get some general opinions on this, everyone. Two-of’s or three-of’s? It’s impossible to get all one or the other, unless we cut it to thirteen three-of’s (and I don’t really want to do that, too many cards would have to be excluded), but what do we want to lean toward?

Edit: Also, do you think biomimetic hulks in particular need to come out, or did you just remove them because something had to go?


two ofs. chess doesn’t have that many cards. If you want to imitate chess, then why not add in a bunch of flying cards: ie flamewing or storm aratha(move anywhere ie queen).
prongbok could be your valiant steed da horsey
and you might actually make this a basic only list. asides from that you could even use vetruvian, as it has more chess-like features. blast is your bishop


…While I honestly didn’t really have chess in mind as a design template when coming up with the original idea for this, prongboks would be a fun addition. The comparison to knights is fun too. And young flamewings or storm arathas could be interesting, maybe. But that’s a maybe, I’m not sure flying is the direction I want to go here. Yeah, I know, the dust wailers, but they only have three attack.

What do you all think? Flying minions? Would Duelyst Chess be more or less fun without them?

Edit: And what about silhouette tracers, while we’re at it? I’m leaning away from them just because there are too many other things I’d like to include.

For that matter, what if instead of a fixed list we created a pool of cards it was acceptable to build Duelyst Chess decks from? It would be a partially different concept, but the idea would be somewhat similar: No cards that generate absolutely insane runaway value (general rule would be if it gets more value over time than grimrock the answer’s no), and no hard removal, some dispel might be allowable, maybe.

Are you all more interested in a single fixed list, or a pool of options?


yea prongbok firs the chess thing real nice


also 3 ofs all the way


A slightly different iteration of your starchess list, only this is basics only. I took in inspiration from real chess and here is the list.

What you ask, is what?Let me explain.

Pawnzzzz: Everything that I can’t explain

Bishops/Rooks: Blasty and hunter. To some extent you can use putrid deadflayer for a similar purpose. Brightmoss golem is a rook in soul if not animationI doubt you will understand my deeply stylistic and analogical(is dat a word) choices.

Queenz: Flamewing.
Knights: Mantis. (it kinda hits stuff you couldn’t otherwise hit… don’t blame me, there’s only so many basics…

King: Our one and only sandshield with a gender.

The chessyst expansion pack only 99.99 with a free cosmetic skin you otherwise won’t get.

Removal. Because chess wasn’t good enough, and because I wan’t all your money.
Anyway, use blindscorch, the same way mac payne uses painkillers. It’s all you need to ignore a few bullet wounds. tis but a flesh wound.

Buffs: I really didn’t want to include buffs… but games can get really slow without them.

Yeah, now ignore the pathetic explanations, and someone just try using dis. I’m up for a game sometime, add me at FR0STFYRE


Unfourtanetly for this list its duelyst
The more interative,fair and boardbased your deck is the weaker it ends up.