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Fan Card Design Hub: Discussion (+Card Design Contest Discussion)

Opinions on The Ostracon’s Scholar? I… struggled deciding it’s exact balance.

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I think it’s perfect the way it is, in terms of balancing honestly.
Same cost and stat line as azure horn if I remember right, being faction specific could give it leeway either way.
However, why not make it a Dervish?
I understand you wanted to see Arcanyst synergy for some creative plays, but being a Dervish opens it up for 3rd wish plays and lets Vetruvian focus on their wishes with him in the deck.
Going second, for example lets you drop him and a first wish without minusing your hand at all (draw from first wish replaces him, and his skill replaces first wish).
Or a second wish making a strong 3/4 on your first play, keeping their general at bay and forcing despell and removal since most likely their first turn minion can’t kill it without buff.
In general I think he makes a strong magnet for despell and removal, and even though that might hurt in the long run being a more spell focused deck, things like Allomancer, Nimbus, Ayamara, etc are that much more likely to remain safe.

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The Ostracon’s Scholar

Vetruvian, Minion (Arcanyst)
2 mana / 1/4
After this minion is targeted by a spell, add the spell to the caster’s action bar at end of turn and deal 2 damage to this minion.

Copypasting the card text here for discussion purposes. Looking at it, I can see why you’d be worried: It’s a 2 mana minion, meaning it has to compete with every other 2 drop as an early game play. It also helps the opponent, specifically SpellHai and Creepbyssian, cycle through spells and maintain a healthy hand. The damage seems unnecessary since its effect is so easy for the opponent to abuse, ESPECIALLY late game if you and your opponent are topdecking at each other.

My suggestion? If I was designing this card I’d cut out the “extra” parts of the ability: trim it down to “Whenever this minion is targeted by a spell, add that spell to your Action Bar at the end of the turn.” This card has major advantages, but it relies a lot on First and Second Wish to do anything. That being said, its a very strong card specifically for maintaining hand size. If you’re worrying about it being too strong as an early play, I’d knock down the stats to 1/3 or 1/2: for a value engine that puts it in line with Aethermaster and Chakri Avatar while allowing you to make the ability stronger in the late game when you’re looking to refill your hand and cantrip spells for your Arcanyst synergies. Also, simpler is almost always better when it comes to card design IMO

But take my opinion with a grain of salt: I am by no means a smart man when it comes to card balance, and I generally balance via Rule of Cool. In this case, I just looked at the card, thought “wow, this would be really cool if it could absorb enemy spells”, and looked for ways to make that possible.

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I didn’t notice that before.

“Targeted by a FRIENDLY spell,” might need to be a thing, since removing it becomes free at that point xD

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Nah man, just make all the spells go into your action bar, not “the caster’s”. Simpler = better, remember? Also, Arcanyst loves having more spells in hand, plus then you can use Cass’ BBS against her own creep :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

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It was a like that in earlier iterations.

It has gone from:
2/3, 1self dmg
2/2, =
2/2, triggering on enemy’s spell also
1/3, =
1/3, 2self dmg
and finally,1/4, =

I feared that it might get too “un-interactive” spamming 1st wishes forever, and might have overcompensated.

Edit : Removing it with one hit should not let you get the spell back, because the minion is gone before the end of turn, you need to leave it with 2hp so it kills it self while giving back the spell.

The minion’s text probably should have read
"At end of each turn, add spells targeted this minion that turn to the caster’s action bar. Takes 2 damage for each card added."

I have considered making it both Arcanyst and Dervish.
If only the game has dueltype minions, so I can make it so without being unauthentic.

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I’d like to join-in on addressing some of the contest submissions so far. As a jury member, I will solely focus on questions/criticisms, and I’ll try to keep them brief so as to not sway design choices. That said, some of these design choices seem (to me) unbalanced, superfluous, or unfulfilled (i.e. has potential, but does not serve much of a design purpose). I hope to gain some better insight into the design thought-processes behind each. Without further ado:

Aspect of the Ice


  • Given that the General is transformed, how does it affect BBS usage? Would it make sense for a giant Ice Elemental to be using Warbird or Kinetic Surge?
  • Can you use this card in multiples? If so, do you think it’s balanced? If not, do you think that that’s an intuitive design?
  • Do you think this card may be too strong with the infiltrate bonus? Why infiltrate in the first place (can a giant block of ice really infiltrate anything)?
  • What purpose is this design serving beyond “Boundless for Vanar”?
Creep Vine


  • What purpose is this card serving? We already have Creep generators.
  • This card simply outperforms Shadow Nova after 1 turn, and gets absurdly better from there on. Additionally, self-proccing is simple with cards like Skorn.
  • Why make it a Wall type? Walls and wall-synergy are exclusive to Vanar.
Suntide Altar


  • Compare this card to Sundrop Elixir. Do you think it’s properly balanced (i.e. does not completely negate the use of Sundrop)?
  • Is the Restore +2 Health necessary, or is it superfluous? If it’s necessary, is it properly balanced?
  • If my General is whacked by a Dragonbone Golem (10/10), does my General take no damage or does the Altar take 5 and my General takes 5? For either outcome, do you consider that an intuitive design?


  • Given the ease of Dervish generation (e.g. Pax, Nimbus), can you really justify the ‘conditionality’ of this card as well-balanced (i.e. 1-mana less, draw a card) against just playing a Windstorm Obelisk?
  • What purpose is this card serving beyond giving Vetruvian basic card advantage?
Sightless Master


  • Even for 7-mana, the ability seems much too strong (and combo-ability too great, as you pointed out).
  • When would the ability trigger…? Immediately after each movement (i.e. no other minion does this)? What happens when 2 are on the board, and 1 moves behind the other? Are these intuitive design interactions?
  • Would the triggering of its ability exhaust it? If not, is that balanced and/or interactive?
  • Why does it have Backstab (3) if it never gets to use it (except on Generals)? Does that kind of design seem necessary?
Hidden Silhouette


  • As a general principle, if the card text requires two lines, there’s either too much going on or there’s a better way of wording it.
  • Compare this to Silhouette Tracer, better stats and larger ability.
  • What happens when I choose to move a minion two spaces to the left, but my General is unable to move 2 spaces to the left (e.g. friendly/enemy minion occupying that space)? Am I unable to play this minion if there are no possible 2-space moves for either my minion or general (or both)?
  • What purpose is this design serving other than better-statted/higher-utility Silhouette Tracer…?
Sand Sculpturer


  • This card effectively casts 8 Sandtraps (16 mana) and leaves a (3/5) body for only 4 mana…? Do you think this is balanced?
  • Does this design invalidate the use of Sandtrap?
  • What purpose is this design serving?
Moonlight Seeker


  • Your edited design is extremely convoluted, and removes the interesting interaction of it being directly summoned with Darkfire Sacrifice.
  • Does the indirect influence of a Darkfire Sacrifice, on only a wraithling, since the previous turn, make for an intuitive design? Does it seem needlessly complex or disconnected?
Four Winds Archon



Shadow Teacher



That’s all I have time for for now. I’ll add an update tomorrow with more designs of interest!


It casts on all minions including your own just like Lightbender.

Sandtrap is an interesting mechanic, but no one will use the spell by itself so I wanted to give it some support with a minion. This card is supposed to be powerful so it may want you to include Sandtrap in your deck to potentially lock down more opponent minions.

The thought behind the card was to give artifact decks and blast decks a support card that’s not to expensive manawise to be played and offer a powerful and unique effect. The 3/5 (Earth-Sister Taygete had these stats but her effect was even more powerful) I was thinking of making it a 3/4, but then thought of Sandsister and realized that it would prob not get played at that statline.

Also the 4 mana slot for Vetruvian is weak compared to other factions 4 drops. Allomancer supports Dervish/Structure so this was supposed to support Artifact/Blast. I think this card is good competition for other 4 drops and not an auto include either but giving support to a weaker archetype.


Thank you for your pertinent questions:

  • Sundrop Elixir fulfills a separate role by actually providing a heal trigger while SA doesn’t (I’ve never seen Elixir played outside of Healyonar). Altar + Sunriser does nothing, unlike Elixir + Sunriser. In addition, Elixir is more flexible as it can target Minions directly. Obelysks have shown that Structures need to be pushed to see play, and Altar doesn’t pressure the opponent, unlike Obelysks. There is an argument for giving it 4 Health, but that makes it an easy target for the nigh-ubiquitous 4 damage from General + 2-drop.
  • Altar doesn’t restore Health, it increases Health (no heal proc), the OG gives the card an immediate benefit that gives it utility even if it gets dispelled or attacked directly. Its lack of tempo and cantrip make it necessary, I feel.
  • Altar only absorbs damage up to its remaining Health, excess damage is done to the General as usual. I feel the phrasing is in line with CP’s current philosophy where they prefer brevity over preciseness. Appending “up to its Health” would be a nice addition, if it fits on the card, space-wise.

After some consideration I believe we might even see this card come around in a Zealyonar and even Weapon-based Lyonar deck, because it allows them to survive longer as they trade damage. In my opinion damage to Generals should still ping Artifact durability.

Good luck, I hope I’ve adequately responded to your concerns. Please let me know if otherwise.


Since somebody actually got interested let me put some thought into the design.

Well, first of all, seeing how Duelyst is playing with many fantasy tropes, I did not mean a huge hulking thing, but rather a nimble and agile “Ice Armor” of sorts.

I did not put to much thought into the actual effect though - I just followed the idea Behind BL to keep the thing ballanced - it gives less attack than BL, but more health, making it more defensive, and since the attack bonus is conditional, I felt 5 extra HP would make the card useful.

Thus, I want to address some of those issues.

Aspect of the Ice
Vanar Spell
6 mana
Transform your General into 4/15 Glacial Devastator with Ice Shred BBS.

Ice Shred
Deal 2 damage to an enemy. If it kills them, spawn a Blazing Spine on the same tile.

Spell cast has no effect on the state of your BBS. The spell can be recast to go back to 15 health. So multiple casts act as much needed heals for Vanar. I do not think it will be overpowered since 15 is not that much, especially if you are way behind on board.

This Design should be much better since it both supports Wall Vanar archetype and allows to build control decks with the fection due to pseudo-heal effect.


If the general can’t move itll only move the minion, this is a trick to move the movement while not moving your general if youre against a wall.

Silhouette tracer actually isnt higher utility, only for the general. Positioning in this game is very important so being able to control enemy movements as well as your own is super important. If you need an enemy minion closer to you to get rid of you have the option, if you need one of your own units closer you have the option. This makes duelyst feel like you and your army are “one”.

Your general can be bended very similarly to tracer as well, except a bit fancier since you can move an ally minion to hit a distant minion while also moving your general. Also when you retreat you can make your units retreat.

Its imo a very thought filled card where you can move units without moving your general if youre against a wall. Or in general if you want to move something to or away from your army you need to think of the consequences this does to your general (or benefits too). Where you can move 3 spaces with tracer, this only affects your general, whereas moving any minion to give you favorable trades, as well as the option of moving your general 2 spaces while using a friendly minion as the target after it attacks is a lot more beneficial.

My thought was to make a card have the game feel like you and your units move as one, while having a wide versatility of options.


I could Nerf it to say “the start of your turn” instead of the end to give the opponent the ability to easily counter it. And that way, it would need 3 turns to equal shadow Nova. I made it a wall so that dispelling it would remove it. I was not thinking about vanar wall synergy since I believe walls and structures should not be limited to one faction.


The main design for Solidify was rather thematic at first. I thought it was interesting to have more in-type interactions, besides Dunecaster, 3rd Wish, Fireblaze and Windstorm. Another thing was the buff itself: It gives your Dervishes more survivability, meaning they can stay longer on board, and do more damage(Iron Dervishes).

Now about Solidify vs just the Obelysk. Obviously the card draw and 1 mana less, as you previously mentioned, but also: Abjudicator/Alcuin synergy. It could also be played with Whisper of The Sands, sacrificing one of prieviously spawned Dervishes for an extra reach to the enemy. Even more: The card is a great combo with Circle of Desacation (or similar name), making one of your Dervishes a Dervish generator, avoiding Circle itself. You would probably miss 2 damage, but your board is more powerful after Circle, on the following turn.

Now onto the purpouse. Its a good point and I’m afraid, that beyond giving you card advantage, there is nothing more this card would offer. You would just play it for cycle and the “discounted” Obelysk.

I hope you are satisfied with those answers and thanks for good, constructive criticism :slight_smile:


Let’s discuss more contest cards :slight_smile:

[details=Enter the Dragon]
This is one of the most interesting cards so far. I love the idea behind it, although it is a bit overpowered at the moment. Your opponent is basically not able to move, since it would result in 9 damage on face. I suggest setting the attack to 0 (because it is a Structure), increasing health and reducing the damage dealing.[/details]

[details=Bonechill Mystic]
This is exactly what stunned needs. But I think it is underpowered atm, especially because you need stunned minions to use this effect. I would additionaly think of an Opening Gambit that stuns a random enemy or something similar, to get immidiate value out of this card.[/details]

Honorable mentions:
Communal Lifeforce by @agentcamp
Illuminator by @buyingcoats
Keikai by @raqyee

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For Bonechill Mystic: I remember when i first learned how stunned worked being suprised that there was a counter attack. In order to really push existing stun cards into viability this is a great option i think.
Winterblade now preserves durability charges when used offensively. Flash freeze and icy opening gambit can allow a swarm to take down a large minion and survive.
Having infaction healing would do wonders to make control vanar more powerful, but improving on the strong theme of stun is another way.
I will think about editing the entry with bringing the power level up some as you suggested.

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Thanks for your insight and questions! I figured for my entry I didn’t want to make a ball of stats as much as I wanted to make a removal card with SongHai flavor (which is why it also has Backstab, for the interactions with Killing Edge and Shadow Waltz). The ability triggers if there is any enemy minion directly behind this minion, checking the condition whenever the boardstate changes. In retrospect, the body was probably too strong considering the effect and cost.


RIP :frowning: I completely forgot about scientist. Do we still have an opportunity to change our submissions?

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Right, imp master is the inspiration. That said, many card games have completely identical cards, mechanics, and game play elements so there should be no problem here. The body is solid and where as imp master sees no play in hearthstone, it is a card that would be a 3x is all writhing decks in Duelyst. I think the concern is a little bit unwarranted.


My previous design was: “Opening Gambit: If this minion has been summoned via Darkfire Sacrifice, give it +1/+2 and Celerity.”

The problem I had with it, which is why I decided to edit, was that it was too specific and too limiting for the archetype. I mean, if this card were really in the game, then Ramp players would NEED to use Darkfire Sacrifice SPECIFICALLY on this creature, in order to make it viable. It is a 2/3 for 4, so they would need to ramp it up with Darkfire Sacrifice, or otherwise they would be wasting a lot of tempo, since players want to be playing proactive 4 drops, and not a 2/3 one.

As of why it would limit the archetype: Ramp Abyss is an archetype that seeks to bring late game creatures earlier in the game, so that they can pressure the opponent faster. The problem is: if you have a creature that interacts specifically with Darkfire Sacrifice, then you are monopolizing it for that creature only, meaning that if you don’t ramp it, then that creature is useless. If I use all of my 3 Darkfire Sacrifices ramping any creature other than Moonlight Seeker, then it becomes a 2/3 4 drop with no abilities, meaning that it would be a dead card, since playing it would be a huge tempo loss, because no one wants to play a 2/3 for 4 that doesn’t impact the board immediately. That alone would kill the whole archetype strategy, since you want to be ramping as much BIG minions as you can.

Example: Unseven is 2/4 for 4 with a strong Dying Wish effect, but it is also a huge tempo loss on curve due to it’s weak body for the cost. In order to get value from it, one MUST make use of it’s Dying Wish. If it gets dispelled, then the player probably have lost the game already, since a 2/4 for 4 means an incredible loss on tempo by itself, even if it has a really good effect (L’Kian is an exception, I guess, since she doesn’t need the actual body to impact the board). And, if you can’t get value from the effect, then… uh, it’s pretty much a useless card.

Then, there comes the other scenario: Say that I have used all of my 3 Darkfire Sacrifices to ramp Moonlight Seeker in order to make it a 3/5 Celerity minion for 2. Oh, 3 3/5 Celerity minions for 2 each? Seems good, right? No. Why? Because this would make the player feel obligated to ramp Moonlight Seeker only, meaning that if he wanted to ramp, say, a Spectral Revenant on turn 5, he would likely NOT do it, since it would make Moonlight Seeker literally useless. Therefore, it would kill the whole archetype strategy, since you want to be accelerating the most number of “fat” creatures you can. Being in a dilemma of which minion to Ramp out is not what the archetype wants, let alone a 4 mana one.

Then, my edited design comes into discussion:

Opening Gambit: If you have sacrificed at least one wraithling via Darkfire Sacrifice since your last turn, give this minion +1/+2 and Celerity.

Why the “wraithling only” and “since your last turn” restrictions, you ask? Well, this card was designed with Lilithe’s BBS in mind, since it is very, very rare to see someone playing Ramp Cassyva. Lilithe naturally interacts better with the Ramp archetype, so does Cassyva with Creep.

As of the second restriction: I think it solves the archetype limiting problem I’ve stated earlier; if the player decides to sacrifice a wraithling on turn 5 in order to ramp a Spectral Revenant, then he could cast a 3/5 Celerity minion for 4 on the next turn without feeling obligated to choose between which minion to ramp, meaning that he wouldn’t need to have a dead card each turn.

The idea is to give some incentive to the archetype in the form of a minion that benefits from Darkfire Sacrifice indirectly, meaning that it would be possible to ramp big creatures out while also having a great tool to support them.

@Edit: I hope this comment can clarify the philosophy behind the card ^^

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I created SunForge Duelyst to give lyonar an alternate way to provoke longrange or minions too big for other minions to attack. This minion is Kinda Like a Gladiator/Fencer that challenges minions to duels. Its old effect was An Opening Gambit:Add 2 truestrikes which was just a better sterope So I thought of something else. Some of the other effects I thought of were the same effect but added when either minion dies the other it gains 2+/2+ which would give you a reason to kill the minion would be a double edge sword if the minion its challenged kills it. I probably should add that they can’t be attack by anything else but that minion Like Panddo effect.

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