Grandmaster Zendo here with rambly sad conjecture on Songhai and this first Rotation


Hey guys been a while since I played consistently, and even longer since I’ve seriously posted using my name but I just wanted to ramble on a bit about the rotation and why I’m bummed out about it as far as songhai (and honestly other factions as well) goes.

So if you dont know me i generally only play minion centric songhai builds back in the day during beta i used to play the stabdard solitaire hais but i stoped when reva and bbs was released because i needed excuses to play kaleos, which generally speaking there were none except heavy minion decks which weren´t particularly well supported with songhais tools.

Enter Shimzar which was esentially the best time I had with duelyst to this date is also when almost half of songhais interesting and strong board focused minions were added to the game in addittion to what is basically the only unique and interesting spell thats actually useful they’ve had printed since core.

Lemme just go down the list a minute.

Katara - aka backstab the card or playable kaido -
Katara is basically the only backstab card thats seen serious play in ages, scroll bandit is now also seeing play but its purpose is clearly more spellhai focused the on damage or clear potential. Im especially bitter since katara main bad point - along with every other 1/3s - the legendary turn one tiger cheese, is dead

Ki Beholder - aka Ranged the card or playable widowmaker -
Ki beholder is similar to Katara in that its basically the only example of its keyword that sees play (I hate gauntlet so dont bring it up im not talking about that lol) the difference is nothing has been printed thats been able to see any play the only other ranged you’ll see are gambler memes and Reva tokens (dont even get me started on the rant about not being able to unironically play heartseeker as other generals)
Ki beholder is one of the only songhai minions with an opening gambit and thus an immeadiate effect when it hits the board without combos, and its one fully focused on the board, its one of my favorite minions in the game and its really sucky that its just going away.

Battle Panddo - aka ghostlightning for minionhai -
Not alot of people know this about me but token 1/1 swarm is actually my most hated archetype in every cardgame that has it, back in the day I ran 3 ghost lightnings in every deck i made and im geniuniely pissed off that im losing my second favorite minion from the game and have to go back to that bollocks. If i could get just one more thing outta shimmy I’d gladdy take BP, shoot I would trade fricken lantern fox for it (but really just take artifact defiler outta the base set >_>). Overall just a very potent aoe that also slightly removes death strike seal from meme status.

Onyx Jaguar - aka the Deck that never was -
Movehai is a concept that cpg seemed to refuse to ever give proper support, we’ve finally gotten one more minion for it so ofcourse the prognitor of the archtype must be unceremoniously murdered, not much to say about this one really its statline was just too low and cpg never made more cards to synergize with the comcept, I’m sorta glad this one is rotating so cpg might try again, but then i remember that cpg. Cpg coulda of rework two fricken neutrals, made a two drop, and that archetype would of functioned.
Now cpg is just deleting both onyx jag and the 2 neutrals, Mogwai and Black Locust, that could have easily been reworked to make movehai work if not for their shitty aversion to changing cards but i wont go into a mini rant inside a rant- Wait, wait what Black locust is core still, and it got no balance changes? Aight i lied fucking hell.

Mini Rant - aka wtf am I doing with my life -
Digital ccgs have advantages and disadvantages comparitive to there physical counterparts for both the devs and players, the primary advantages for devs and players both being ease of access to starting and playing games and ease of implementing balance changes. Sided one way or the other depending on which side you are is that you can play completely free but often devs prevent trading. And purely negative is that because they arent physical you cards that you invest in have no value whatsoever especially since you cant trade. Overall I’d say this suite of factors leans toward positive, however because cpg refuses to consistently use balance i find it to be more skewed towards negative for players. Now keep in mind im not saying balance is easy. Im saying balance is easy to implement in that you simply change the card in the database as opposed to say yugioh where they reprint the card with the errata’d text in the new set but unless you get the new card or stay up to date with all the cards you play with you might end up blindsided in the middle of play that something you use to do and your copy of the card allows has been changed. Additionally it frustrates me that cpg generally refuse to balance up since beta and black locust is one card that if we are really gonna have forever need to be balanced up if only slightly.

Grandmaster Zendo - aka GrandmasterKaleos aka me :^) -
Not much to say here as cpg has graciously decided not to delete me from the game. My absolute favorite card in the game and what defines midrangehai in my eyes.

Koan of Horns - aka Koan of Memes aka the most interesting songhai spell -
Lol jk no just no

Mirror Meld - aka the actual most interesting songhai spell -
Take a moment with me and look over the spells from all the expacs. Ok done lets reviews what cpgs added to songhai spells. 6 ways to puke damage in varying forms, 1 good backstab buff, better saberspine in any deck a minion stick, worse lurking fear, 2 more panddo shenanigans, 2 inner focus rehashes, 2 overcosted general movement spells, 1 rng draw spell, 1 more reason to not play kaleos, and 2 glorious glorious memes. Overall I gotta say, it all feels like stuff fit to be rotated out except maybe obscuring blow but even thats pretty vanilla, mirror meld is the one exception, its an actually interesting minion support spell that unfortnately developed a degenerate combo and got saberspine nerfed. I dont expect cpg to keep it around but I do hope they’ll make some more interesting songhai spells in its vein.

Aight thats a pretty big wall but tbh sorry im not quite done. I want to make a bit of a point here.

Songhais core set minions dont feel like minions that define songhai

Take a moment with me and ponder to yourself what core songhai minions see play

If your answer was lantern fox, chakri, and fourwind s congrats have a cookie.

Now I ask you what core minions does a not spellhai deck use…

Lantern fox and sometimes Hamon?
Yeah pretty much that maaaaybe keshrai or tuskboar.
And I guess if they delete katara I’ll play kaido again.

Half of songhais core minions feel like worthless trash, a 3rd are spellhai support, and the rest are meh at the best of times. Shimzar feels more like songhais core set minions then the core set does at least as far as anything not spellcentric goes.

Adding on to this pile of problems for me are that cpg has taken the midrange package out of the core set because.
Because for some reason we arent allowed to have a consistent anchor for midrange decks?
Those who dont know what im talking about im refering to Dioltas and Funsteel, which while somwhat overtuned (dioltas tombstone in particular could of easily just been nerfed a bit funsteel would be harder) the removal of these two basically mean our only good midrange 4 drop in neutral is shieldmaster and owlbeast. We already have a severe lacking in good neutral 5 drops (Dancing blades and sometime sunset paragon) is it really necessary to shit on our 4 drop pool too?

Now I’ll take a moment to give credit to cpg where it’s due, Unearthed prophecy also has a pretty decent lineup of minions for songhai with painter and scrollbandit being phenominal for any list, and Flamewreath being great for movehai, theyll be around for a decent bit but they just dont feel core in the same way the shimmy stuff does. Additionally the new songhai build minion is exactly what i wanted from the mechanic in songhai.

Additionally rip to the vespyr support, pokemasterhorn, wall finish, pax, shadowcreep, falcius and the rest of the staples from shimzar that i cant recall atm.

Now I know some of you are gonna be like calm down its not rotating till the next set.
To you i say I can only function off of what Ive seen cpg produce so far and what i know atm and currently ive seen cpg produce 3 bad to mediocre sets for songhai and 2 good ones and we’ll be trading in a good one for idk what. We got some board focused songhai support this set but of the 3 card that seem decent to good 2 are spells…

Additionally just as a general statement i think cpg need to look a bit harder at what they should take from and add to the core set a lot of decks are getting screwed pretty hard. Every faction has at least one completely useless card in core cpg could replace and only half the factions got 2 cards added to core and if vanar can get frostburn added to core come on now.

Abyssian- a creep support card i dont know much about the archetype so ill just say anything but sphere of darkness most likely should be a payoff
Mag- Moloki probably as grow still has garbo for support but mags pretty solid overand stable for all its archtypes
Songhai- Battle Panddo or Ki Beholder, solid minions for controlling the board for those types of decks.

Optimally Lyonar would get something better the excelcious , Vanar would keep winters wake, and Vet would get falcius but idk.

All I can do is all wait and see but if this next set doesnt essentially forgo spellhai support in favor of more board focused options to support im probably just gonna drop the game I’ve stuck around for a long time but honeatly I really hate rotations. Hopefuly cpg handles it well but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t quite disillusioned with them.

*forgot to mention I am excited for the new 5 drop 9/9 as well as it allows me to make my zendo hamon combos more consistent.


A lot of solid thoughts worth considering here. The most interesting part to me is “Balance isn’t easy to get right, but it is easy to implement, and Counterplay doesn’t seem to want to do it.” I wrote a similar rant an hour or so ago.

I say, buff this, nerf that, keep going, if you break something revert the change and try again, or rebalance it the other way, always be changing things, new patch every two or three weeks, a few cards at a time, you can fix your own mistakes as quickly as you make them, always seek the middle ground of good but not too good for every card, never give up the dream. Sorry about the weird run-on sentence, it’s a stream-of-consciousness thing I guess.

My stance may sound extreme, but it’s not like everything has to change all the time. Three or four cards changed, usually in small ways, every two or three weeks isn’t going to burn the game down, and if something goes really wrong they can shoot off a quick standalone buff/nerf/bugfix, and carry on like normal from there.


I agree I’ve been playing for thirteen seasons now and I’ve always felt like Songhai has been shafted by a majority of the expansions. Songhai’s core cards are pretty terrible too I wish they had better minions. Everyone complains Songhai have high potential but I would rather have better consistency than blowouts… Spellhai seems to be the most playable thing going forward. I’m really disappointed with set rotations because I think having an eternal format is better and it hurts my favorite faction the most. I’ve been trying to play backstab/artifact decks for a long time and they have super easy counterplay and I’ve been hoping it would become better as expansions come out but the rotations just crushed my dreams. Songhai minions need buffs and the neutrals hardly support any Songhai strategies. If backstabbing is gonna be a decent mechanic Songhai need another way to manipulate the position of the enemy General rather than that stupid rng 3 drop fox.


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