Faction identities


So despite not playing much Duelyst anymore, I still have it teetering around in my head from time to time. I’m going to make this post without any particular forethought so please bear with me if the structure is terrible and I’m a bit incoherent.

With the preface out of the way, lets get down to the main topic: Trying to figure out faction identities.
The reason I’m making this thread is because I have trouble grokking some Faction’s identities. Most notably Vetruvian and Vanar.

Not every faction needs to be able to do the same thing and some might not have access to some types of effects. This is fine and adds to their identity usually. Though they should still have some way to deal with various problems, try and keep the ways they do this in mind. Also this is what a faction is supposed to evoke, not what the ideal solution is (For example: Blood of Air is an amazing card but it feels very un-Vetruvian in the way it solves a problem the faction is facing. Same with Frostburn for Vanar). (Again: in my opinion)

I’ll try and explain this through the ways certain factions perform certain effects:
If you want to remove (multiple) enemies in the same turn most of the basic factions have some way to do that:

Magmar will do it through a creature with a spell effect (Makantor) or through a spell that has a power requirement (Natural Selections and Plasma Storm). Their focus is on minions, they have almost no direct damage that is not tied to a minion, all other effects are removal that does nothing unless specific conditions are met, usually minion-stat based. (at least initially, see my previous Starhorn threads and the addition later cards).

Songhai will straight up blast things with spells as their primary means of removal. They combo various effects and deal direct damage. This either through combo’ing spells to deal X amounts of damage to things or making them harmless. Songhai has no way to simply remove a creature without dealing damage. Yes they can switch places and transform them into pandos but they will never outright destroy something without dealing damage to it spell-wise. Minion-wise they still work with spells to remove things, by teleporting that minion around to activate its effect or get it into position or even reactivating it. Songhai works through their spells mostly. Again, no straight up ‘remove X’ just indiscriminate damage.

Lyonar is in a similar position to Magmar in that they do most of their work through minions, though more in the conservation of their minions than through the battering ram method that Mamar utilizes. To see the difference look at Lyonar’s version of Makantor Warbeast: Holy Immolation. It has the exact same effect as Makantor (deal 4 damage to everything around a minion) with an added effect (the healing). It’s just not one package and you need to have a minion on the board but it has additional effects. You don’t even need a minion on the board if you play a two-drop and then it even costs the same as Makantor. (this is a more of meandering point.)
Lyonar works through healing, sustain and defence of its own elite minions around the general. They remove minions of the enemy that are not near the enemy general, they deal straight up bits of damage usually coupled with healing by having their own minions damaged and then healed. Lyonar’s removal is having a posse of elite minions that get buffed, healed and beat the shit ouf of the enemy.
They work with direct damage but with sustain. Though they’re harder and harder to summarize like Songhai and Magmar as the expansions offer them more options.

Abyssian’s removal is simple: They either sacrifice one of their own to remove one of yours or transform things into one of their own. More recent expansions have given them options that remove damaged minions or remove stuff on things that will damage them anyway (Creep). They all work through the sacrifice mechanic that is integral to their faction identity.

Now both Vanar and Vetruvian seem a bit confused or I seem to simply not be able to grasp them.

Vanar initially seemed to be about keeping enemies at bay without straight up removing things, they had walls, teleports and transforms. Their ‘removal’ was mostly keeping you at bay and positional damage. Then they got straight up aoe damage and started doing other things.

Vetruvian had none, aside from removal next to their general and removing everything that wasn’t an obelysk.

I seem to sort have lost the point I was trying to make (late-night unstructured posting, sorry!).
Point is some factions have very clear identities and you can see what their way of dealing with a problem is (Magmar, Songhai and Abyssian are laser-focused on their themes). Others are (to me at least) very unsure and unfocused. For me these are mostly Vetruvian and Vanar, with maybe Lyonar having had a specific identity but now kind of searching as well. Though the biggest offenders are still Vetruvian and Vanar. I believe CP will keep giving these factions mishmashes of cards until they settle on a theme for what these particular factions are actually all about.

So hence the very long post:
What do you think the factions are all about or should be all about, what kind of effects should each faction have etc.
(If someone could explain Vetruvian and Vanar for me that would be swell)

It’s a VERY open question but one that I hope opens up some interesting discussions.


I think faction identity has more to do with the ways factions are proactive. Abyssian, Magmar, and Songhai all have removal that supports FID because their removal is also proactive. Magmar removes by playing big minions, Abyssian removal generates creep and/or wraiths, and there’s not much that’s more proactive than winning the game. Obelysks and Walls are slower, so their cards can’t be both proactive and reactive. That’s why Vet and Vanar removal cards don’t seem to support FID: you can’t just play them on curve.


Removal is really not the faction identity spot, we don’t want a rock paper scissors game of factions, everyone should have some way to deal with a threat, preferably with their factions flavor.

I think you pretty well defined everyone, Vet got blood of air because they just had to have it to be viable, and its well within the factions identity having dervish synergy and being ever so slightly position oriented. All together vet has tons of identity with dervishes, oblysks. Either that or being combo oriented and being the flood deck rather then swarm. (Flood being a lot of harder to kill things, rather then swarm which is a mass of weak things that like to die as in abyss.)

Yea while initially vanar had great single target but not so great aoe, that was long ago, every faction should have some form of aoe, and Vanars main identity is as THE control faction so its ok to front load them there. Their weak points are a lack of in faction healing and usually being a bit slow.


Vanar is the definition of a control faction right now. Excellent removal, both spot and mass, lot’s of ways to limit the opponents movement and powerful lategame cards to finish the game. Weakspots are lack of healing and weak minions in general. There can be minion centric decks in Vanar (Arcanyst and Aggro for example) but they use almost entirely neutral minions spiced up with some Vanar removal.

Vet is similar to Lyonar/Magmar, they are minion heavy and rely on minions to take out enemy threats. But instead of size they use numbers. No matter if it’s Obelysk or Golems, both decks rely on numbers to overwhelm the enemy along with buffs. Blood of Air has synergy with their main tribe and is in general just a testament that every faction needs at least some kind of ranged hard removal to be viable/flexible in terms of what to use. Vet without BOA was basically limited to aggro only because they had no way to deal with back line threats and just got outvalued because of that. They are still far from being able to play a control style because of just having one good spot and no mass removal but at least it’s enough to support midrange playstyles.


The focus on removal was maybe a mistake, I just wanted to have an example of how various factions deal with various things. (so please don’t focus on that too much)

The main point of the thread is to figure out what each faction should play and feel like. I believe I have some notion as to what the theme of Vetruvian is supposed to be (they just can’t seem to pull it off due to how the game is played)

(If anyone is interested my personal theory is that the Vetruvian faction is intended to be a ‘Deathknight undead-summoning army’, with that I mean tons of weak, replenish-able summoning with a focal character that is the powerhouse. They’ve pulled off the summoning aspect very well with Zirix and Obelysks but they’re still struggling with the Character-centric part. A lot of spells have been (changed) to only work around the general, such as Siphon Energy and Mind Control. A lot of effects center on the General such as Falcius, Incinera, Zephyr. There’s also the heavy focus on Artefacts from numerous cards, etc. Point is the second part of Vetruvian they’re trying to push is a One-Man army centered on the general and that’s not working out as much. The only issue with this is they’re kind of stepping on Abyssians toes with this focus on replenishable minions, though Abyssian is more selfish and heals better).

Vanar I’m much less sure on, they’re very control oriented…but then they get all the other tools as well, their Vespyr-types are hardly used and their positioning abilities aren’t much used either. Walls only recently took off again a little due to Kara being changed and Luminous Charge being on the strong side.
They feel like they should be the trickery faction but they’ve got… well everything and it’s hard to see what their ‘core identity’ is compared to other factions. (I have a sort of similar issue with vetruvian and more recently LYonar due to effect bloat).

As an example (and because I’m much more familiar with Magmar, sorry): Magmar will NEVER get a provoke That’s just not their thing. If Magmar wanted to achieve the same effect as a provoke they’d have a creature that hurts things around them like Taygete when their general is damaged (for example). Magmar are very easy to pinpoint (for me at least).
Same with Songhai, they have a very clear identity that you can work within to create interesting effects and cards.

Vetruvian is currently mostly propped up by very strong individual cards (and always has been) that aren’t very cohesive theme-wise. They need these strong cards to survive and be playable in the game, but they don’t provide a great deal of ‘identity’. They have their obelysks and that’s about it. (again not advocating the removal of blood of air, it just feels like it’s more of an Abyssian themed card than a Vetruvian card BUT what IS a Vetruvian card, what are the things you associate with Vetruvia?)

The latter question is what I’m asking about Vanar and Vetruvian mostly. Don’t stare too hard at my removal example alone. It’s mostly about in what direction and theme factions should receive cards in, for example, future expansions to define them and play within a field instead of giving them a jumble of very strong but un-cohesive cards because of the current meta. (which I think some factions have been suffering from.)

Does this make any kind of sense?


I think your view is just far too narrow, the faction design doesn’t work like that. Faction have things they are good at and things they are bad at pushing them into different directions in terms of how their, look over all. How ever not being good at something doesn’t mean they don’t have it or shouldn’t have it at all. Lyonar will never be the ranged faction getting one ranged minion will not change that. Magmar might get a provoke at some point just like they have heal even though that’s a lyonar trait. This is especially true for core tools like ranged removal or card draw. Leaving a faction without something like that will massively hurt their viability and what good has a faction that sticks to a specific theme but is unplayable because their theme doesn’t allow them to use mandatory game mechanics to be viable.

Balance reasons aside with the number of cards increasing cpg will have to broaden the themes of the faction at some point. Otherwise we will end up with powercreep. There are only so many heal entered cards that they can make.


Well that’s kind of the point of this thread, not to make it narrower but to give them an identity for them to work with and then maybe give occasional exceptions.

It’s not about viability at all, leave that aside for now. Yes the meta dictates some things but colours in Magic have a certain identity, classes in Heartstone have a certain identity, Netrunner factions have a certain identity, etc…

Magmar has this, Songhai has this, Abyssian has this, Lyonar had this but is gonig a bit astray.
I feel Vanar and Vetruvian do not, They’re propped up on a few very powerful cards and neutrals, not their faction mostly.

Yes exceptions can be made, must be made for some to survive.
BUT for exceptions to exist there must be a core. A Viable core to work with, themes to work with.
I have trouble finding these themes in Vetruvian and Vanar.

Of course themes will expand, that’s half the fun but they still need to feel like they belong to that particular faction don’t they? a faction identity is more than making a creature or spell and painting it a certain colour, it needs to belong. Vetruvian getting Grow tiles would be ridiculous for example.

But the core themes of some factions are not defined well and that makes them feel unsatisfying as a whole. Unless everyone disagrees of course.

My point is not about ‘best statted dudes’ my point is about identity and what various things you can expect to face when facing that particular faction and if you want to build a deck that does X what faction feels right for that.

I kind of feel like people are focusing a bit too much on the balance aspect.


As far as i a can see it, the core is there and i mentioned it in my first post. Vetruvian is about swarming the board with either Golems or Obelysks/Derwishes/flyers. They also have that Artifact aspect but that is lacking support right now.

Vanar is about controlling the board/stalling the opponent until they can end the game with one big finisher. All the walls and removal spells point them into that direction. Slow down the opponent until you can win with one of your big combos. Slowing both in terms of movement (Stun/walls) and in terms of development i.e clearing his board (spot and mass removal)

In both cases there is a pretty big chunk of their cards that supports those themes except for a few outliers. Vanar has that aggressive/vespyr centered touch that’s basically unsupported since the core set and therefore pretty much dead, but outside of this almost all their cards fall into that controlling/stalling theme.

Vetruvian is the same with most of their cards supporting their swarmy nature by either being a swarm minion/generator or some kind of buff spell to boost their small minions. Their Artifact aspect is kinda dead, similar to Vanars vespyrs right now due to lack of good support but the theme is still there and unlike with Vanar where the aggressive infiltrate/verspyr aspect is probably a relic of the past (infiltrate still gets some support but it’s getting slower and more lategame oriented like that 6 mana Ambush and that actually fits nicely with the movement controlling aspect of Vanar i.e keep him on his side to have an advantage), CPG is still supporting Vets Artifact scheme so i think they intend to keep it. They just have to get it right some time.

In regards to Vetruvian maybe your problem is that you’re a bit too fixated on your idea of their General centered theme? I mean yes they have those artifacts and like 3 removals that need the general to be close to their target but i don’t think that’s a relevant theme anymore, maybe it was at sometime but it definetely changed. Nothing else in the faction cares about being close to the general. Also, the times where Vet was dependent on Aymara healer to keep them in the game are long since passed, most decks don’t even run her nowadays.


Vetruvia is defined, more than by a theme, by weakness.
Vetruvia is weak to dispel.
If we discount the artifact theme, most Vetruvian creatures - without their abilities - are pathetic. Pyromancer is frail, portal guardian is attackless, obelisks don’t do anything at all, and even the mightier creatures - like Aymara or Nosh-Rak - are puny, stat-wise, compared to other creatures with the same cost.
Vetruvia is position-reliant.
Blast is like ranged, except it doesn’t work for creatures in diagonals. Star’s fury provides low value against stacks of creatures. Obelisks are unable to reach outside a three-cell range. Before Blood of Air, all Vetruvia removal was soft (Sand Trap to lock a creature in place), or melee range (Dominate Will, Entropic Decay).

Vanar is mostly about efficiency, i think. It has incredibly efficient spells, incredibly efficient creatures… The only things it lack is healing.


The factions don’t have coherent identities, because the development team didn’t establish them in the Base/Core set. The themes are purely aesthetic at this point- but nothing short of a mass errata will really make the factions be more than differing color schemes.


To me, theme of Vanar seems to be that weird and interesting “borderlands” playstyle, where cards benefit from either thier or enemy’s side of the field (and now from the border itself occasionally).
But I don’t play them much, so that might be somewhat wrong.


Yeah this is basically what I think. Change the color scheme and possibly the faction specific keyword and nobody would notice a minion moving faction to faction.


I agree with you mostly, with some caveats.

That’s honestly why I made the thread. I was hoping for a discussion on what the themes of certain factions were and how we could expand them to be more distinct. If that should include a mass errata then that could be an option that could be discussed.

The intent was to get a good feel of what people think the factions should be, what niches they should fill and what they actually do. I may have misfired and had people talking about specific cards and mechanics because of my opening post talking about how certain factions have removal.

Why is this necessary?

  1. Because if there’s no identity then why not make every card neutral. Identity is important and factions should feel different.
  2. Identity (and lore and aesthetics) can be a strong reason for people liking or playing a faction or game.
  3. Helping to define a particular identity for a faction may help the developers (as well as the fans) work within a certain framework to create new cards and effects. Right now, they are quickly losing that framework due to scattershot expansions (not fully committing to trying to support certain faction archetypes and odd cards in factions that don’t need it), complete changes to the game (Everyone gets more draw! in Bloodborn) and various other things.
  4. It helps players play with and against these factions, not in a way that creates a ‘this is the only way to play X’ type of thing but to have a feel for “Ok, I’m X against Y, that means I have options Z,Q and I should beware of H”. (We have that now, I know but it’s also a part of faction identity.)

My personal preference is also on asymmetrical factions, since being incredibly similar with different colors of paint is unsatisfying to me personally.

To me, theme of Vanar seems to be that weird and interesting “borderlands” playstyle, where cards benefit from either thier or enemy’s side of the field (and now from the border itself occasionally).
But I don’t play them much, so that might be somewhat wrong.

I think that was the intent, but nobody really uses these effects, nor do they use the Vespyr combo’s and up until recently they didn’t really use walls either. Vanar mostly works off of out-of-faction stuff and has done so for the last year I think. Hence the need for faction identity and a framework to give them actual cards to use that suit them and are playable within how Duelyst currently works.


Aby is my main and I think it’s in a good thematic position, at least right now I can’t think of a card which doesn’t fit. Absence of Dispell but wide choice of instakill is one example.
But I’m also not that zealous about Duelyst in general, so I may be taking stuff lighter than I would in other case.


I’ve been thinking about what to write here for a while and my conclusion is that I cannot wrap my head around faction identities in Duelyst. Yes, there is something which defines factions, but it’s so subtle and hard to extrapolate that I cannot really explain it. This likely means that faction identities are not as strong as I would like them to be.

If I had to be extremely brief on factions, I would say:

  • Lyonar: healing and cost effective defensive minions
  • Magmar: big minions, rush and survivability
  • Abyssian: late game kings
  • Vanar: a purely control faction
  • Vetruvian: swarm and artifacts
  • Songhai: combo faction

There have been some changes from when I started playing. For instance, Vanar used to be much more aggro thanks to Faie’s BBS. It would be nice to hear more on this topic by developers. @ThanatosNoa, @Ryvirath: anything to say?


I think this is somewhat backwards, not to insult your position, but the devs haven’t expressed an interest in establishing these design goals since well before most of us started playing. Rather, while I would love to lay out a mechanically enforced and flavorfully sculpted set of themes for each of the 6 factions- it would simply require that the devs:

A. Express an interest in feedback (most of the devs in my experience don’t like to have constructive discussions about their baby being ugly.)

B. Express a willingness to redesign core elements of the game to build the necessary redundancies to enforce these as design goals (something the devs have on a couple occasions expressed the opposite of.)

With the exception of CM oriented developers (Ryv, Thanatos, Stormshade-) the dev’s view on the game’s design is rather opaque to us outside of their behavior on Discord (which mostly leans on the “we don’t care what you guys think, the kickstarter was a success” end of things.) So, even if we have strong argumentation, well thought out combinatory mathematics and quality feedback- they don’t want to hear it.


Pretty good break down except Vanar as you mention is aggro because of faie, Magmar is also burn and zoo because of Starhorn,Abyssian is late game kings but also early game focus with wraithling swarm.The two generals bbs normally cause an identity and key faction stuff cause them as well.I have to finish up the chart i started on this topic.


When was the last time you saw an aggro faie deck? Sure faie bbs allows for aggressive play as well but literally nothing in vanar supports that. The number of aggro cards in the faction is far too low that’s why aggro vanar always had to rely on neutrals in the past. So yeah you can play aggro with vanar if you really want to but it’s not part of their identity imo. If it was there would be more support.


As long as faie has her bbs she will be inclined to aggro some,She has been aggro in past and she will be aggro again at some point. Your identity is what you do well and one the things people will always look at after every expansion is aggro faie .Why? The bbs leads to try to build in that manner even though support or meta doesn’t let it be as good it should.

Question with concealing shroud,white asp/snowpiercer,Chromatic cold and neutrals like cryptographer/alcuin loremaster, saberspine tiger, etc how many cards away do you think faie is from having a really annoying aggro build?


I don’t really want to make a fuss out of this so I will just say this much. The fact that you can make an aggro deck using like 80% neutral cards doesn’t make vanar an aggro faction. The faction identity is determined by the faction cards not by neutrals.