Interactivity, and its place in the meta


I’ve been hearing some discussion about various cards and combos in the game, and the interactivity they have (or don’t have). This is just a general thread regarding interactivity made so as not to clog up other threads. How is interactivity defined? How much un-interactivity is too much? What cards/combos do you think are acceptable in this game?


Food for the thought, feel free to dig in :slight_smile:


Can’t say I’m surprised :laughing:This topic comes and goes all the time. I guess that means this thread is like a 3rd-generation thread for interactivity.


I guess with every expansion, there a new (set of) combo(s) that arise and butthurt some people too hard, and this thread is reborn again :wink:


I think it’s a useful concept to bear in mind. Although the definitions varied, most people agreed that something you can’t play around (especially out of hand damage) or that depends more on your opponent’s draws than what you do is uninteractive. And it’s something that gets missed when people talk about nerfs because often someone will say “nerf archetype/faction/card X” and other people will say “no, it’s balanced.” But balanced doesn’t necessarily mean interesting. The main thing that makes dance of memes fun/cool is that it’s not very good. If it was effective, it would be super oppressive.

Honestly, uninteractive decks - burnhorn would be a good example - can be pretty tedious. It’s a bit like a coin flip where the other person gets to flip the coin. Yes, I’m salty.


Combo has a place in every card game. I do not mind the combo decks like dance of memes, mechs or 8-gates. Each of these decks has counterplay. With dance of memes you just need to stay away from starhorn, for mech you realize that their deck only has one big turn, and you usually run cards that should be able to deal with that situation. 8-gates you keep pressuring so that they cannot keep their combo in their hand. Or you can optionally murder them with a timely magesworn.

The interactivity that I do not like are the units with rush or an opening gambit that is too good. There is nothing clever about a spectral revenant that had its power boosted by phantasm a couple of times. There is also not much you can do. Makantor is on the edge of what is too good. You can play around it with some clever positioning and it no longer hits for 9 damage like when shim’zar came out. My main beef with those cards is that you get no window to do anything, and it does not rely on a combination of cards that are weak on their own.


Err … Phantasm is rampant among Abyssian these days, the first thing to do is to mulligan wisely to get a counter from start. Replacing smartly is a part of the game.

There are shitload of options : PFire, Martyrdom, Rasha’s Curse, BoneSwarm(if pos. is ok), Lucent Beam, NatSelection, Tempest, Last Judgement, Sun Bloom, Cyclone Mask, Daemonic Lure, Inkorn Gaze, 2xMana Death Grip, ChromCold, Asp. Shimzar/Ravager … just to quote a few.


Aggro decks are uninteractive, because when they have the right start they just kill you with face damage. Control decks are uninteractive, because when they draw the right answers you can’t play the game. Combo decks are uninteractive, because their boost of damage in a single turn cannot be prevented when it’s ready.

To sum up? Either change game or just realize that basically every deck in the game is interactive as long as your deck and playstyle are prepared against it. There is the occasional annoying game where there is really nothing you could have done differently and still you lose, but it’s far from normal - try Hearthstone if you want to check how some matches are decided from the beginning.


Truth be told, the phantasm isn’t as vital as the spectral revenant. There are ways to deal with phantasm, though it wouldn’t be an issue to begin with if there weren’t cards like spectral revenant to begin with.

I have experienced many games where the abyssian opponent just gets to win by chaining a couple of spectral revenants and burn you out. The lengths you need to go to to stop this play is ridiculous. At any rate, it are those kinds of opening gambits, super efficient burn or high-power rush units that I find very non-interactive. It would be fine if these are the finishing moves in a back-and-forth game, but there were points where there is nothing you can do to slow it down, because all the damage is just coming from the hand and is too efficient at that.


I don’t deny that, I replied to your assumptions about Phantasm, problem isn’t Phantasm (if there is a problem).

There are tools for everything, for Rush, for instance you have : Forcefield, positionning out of reach, NightWatcher. But I guess this thread is repeating again:slight_smile:



Ok this was kinda funny though.



Yeah that’s what happens when you go “fuck it” on Phantasms and let’em alive (1) (2).
Even worse if you’re Wallnar :smiley:


Yes, there are ways around it. I have definitely ran nightwatcher in my argeon to counter these decks. The problem is that outside of argeon running nightwatcher isn’t really ideal, and provokes never seem to do enough. Even when I hug the wall and have a provoke one space away from me, they just kill it and see if I can keep pumping out the provokes or just teleport it away and come in for the kill.

If only these cards had the clause that they could not attack the opposing general the turn they are played or had worse stats for attacking or were less numerous. It would give your opponent the possibility to respond.


arguably the best deck to run him, considering you can roar it and have a 4/4 forcefield that they need to invest resources into killing, and since it stops rush they need to use spells, dispel, or hope your minions stay alive long enough to clear it


To expand on this, uninteractive plays are generally better than interactive plays. At least, using my definition of interactivity which is: an approximate/relative/average measure of the number of plays your opponent can respond with that significantly change the game state in their favor or gain them significant advantage.

“Significantly change the game state in their favor” and “gain them significant advantage” are necessarily vague, since you want more options and the more options you have, the less they all have in common. Deckbuilding, rng(in draws, card effects, and packs), and imperfect information (basically the defining features of ccgs), mean that the types of advantage you’re looking for and the types of advantage you can gain are often different. Both in that you’ll want or have access to different types of advantage from game to game and turn to turn, and in the sense that the type of advantage you want and the kind that’s available may not be the same in a given turn.

Therefore, all other things being equal, it’s worse to make interactive plays when you can make uninteractive plays because interactive plays effectively give your opponent advantage. The more things in the game your opponent can respond with, the more likely it is they have at least one of those things.

Another problem is that, when designing cards, you want to break every rule. Some rules you break less often and each rule should probably apply to most cards, but there aren’t too many rules you never break (the number of rules is vague, but for example I’d say “players can’t draw 3 cards per turn” and “players can’t play cards no in their action bar” both fall under “players can’t add cards from their deck to their action bar except by drawing once per turn and replacing once per turn”. Let’s call the last one a prime rule, since like prime numbers it can’t be broken down further [it probably can, but it’s just an example. Play along]). Card text breaks prime rules if not inherently then very close to, but prime rules are what make the game what it is and preserve interactivity. So your options are to have everything be vanilla minions with no tribes or key words or gimmicks (sounds awful), just make everything stupidly broken so it all cancels out (not really viable since power is relative so it just becomes the third one), or be super careful about keeping everything balanced and interactive and fun.

TL;DR: interesting and good cards break rules. Rules promote interaction. It’s hard to balance the two goals.


Idk how you can hate on rush yet defend 8-gates. Gates is the definition of uncounterable, out of hand damage, that doesen’t use the board. Its complete solitaire, yea sure you can tech healing and apply pressure but ultimately it has very little to do with you and is dependent on what they draw. It is the poster card for uninteractive toxic strategies. While I love magesworn as solid tech, most decks can not actually run the card, and 8 gates has multiple ways to deal with it.

Rush minions have very low stats at high costs, use the board, and can be played around with good positioning, provoke, nightwatch, mirrage and the like, as well as teching healing and applying pressure. Phantasm and Tiger are the problems, not Rev. But at least phantasm gives you plenty of opportunities to play around it.

Mankantor and Rev are very high cost and should be powerful, they are also one of abyss/mags staple power cards that every faction has. Also magmar is far from dominant right now, and other then deci/spikes they are a very interactive board focused faction, and the spikes combo is at least linear.

Pretty much every other tactic in the game other then spellhai variants allows for good counterplay and takes advantage of the one thing that makes this game unique and great, the board. Sure songhai is not overly dominant right now, and really Walls/Aggro Cass/Azure are a little to strong right now, the latter needs some small nerfs, the former is just toxic and should be reworked.

Nerf Faie and CC

I really don’t get why you hate 8 gates so much, sure it’s uninteractive in a way but the amount of cards and mana they have to use for significant damage is huge. Gates + 3 Phenix fire is 8 mana and 3-4 cards for 15 damage that they have to accumulate while staying alive. In my opinion, if they manage to pull that off, then they deserve to win. Imo it’s more likely to get hit by flash decimus + double spikes.


Clearly you have never lost a tournament at 23 health, to a completely surrounded Reva who had no board and would die next turn…this has happened to me twice.

There is a reason that the deck is considered tier 1.5 right now, its very meta relevant. It has dozens of ways to assemble its combo, and each card is versatile being able to be used for combo or control as needed. The rest of the deck is packed with control and draw power making it very consistent.

I know I am talking about a little bit of a fringe case there, but similar things are very very common with the deck especially since they usually don’t need to burst you down from so high and its a deck that is exceptionaly good at whittling down your health to the point that a lethal burst is easy even if you play perfectly and tech healing which I allways do since I hate loosing to aggro.

I am not complaining about it being overpowered, its really not, but it is most certainly super toxic and goes against the fundamentals of the game. On top of Magmar beeing far from dominant, while deci/spikes is also a little toxic, its not nearly as bad due to being linear since it damages your self and feeds your opponents cards. Deci/double spikes is quite unlikely as it requires three specific cards, and deals 6 damage to your self often making such a play impossible, rather then gates which can assemble it in many different ways and win with one health and no board without feeding your opponent cards. You can play around it much more effectivly by applying pressure, and its usualy only a 6 health swing ((9 damage but you take 3) and every faction has the ability to pull off around a nine damage burst for a similar investment.

Its not about powerlevel, although that is also a factor, its about the utter lack of interactivity and its uncounterable nature that ignores the fundamental aspect of the game, the board. It is the most infurating thing ever to loose to as its almost entirely based on what they draw.


It just grinds my gears when I see someone complain about out of hand burst but think spellhai is fine. Hate on both, that’s fine. But you can’t have a problem with a lack of interaction and defend spellhai at the sametime. Every time I see that happen I can’t help but go on a rant, since Spellhai is the definition of a lack of interaction.


Uninteractive bullshit isn’t against the fundamentals of the game, it’s a part of it. Not just in Duelyst, in every game really. The best strategy to follow is ofc the one that leaves no room for your opponent to stop it. Personally i only have a problem with it if it gets really out of hand in terms of consistency and power, and 8 gates is far from problematic in both points, at least in my experience.

It’s understandable that your pissed after losing 2 games like that but honestly, i dare say that’s a really extreme case, even more extreme than flash deci + double spikes. It’s also not possible for a typical 8 gates deck to do that much damage, only Mantra builds with Abjudicator can do stuff like that and they are meme level at best for good reason.


That right there! It’s a part of card games, but it really should not be part of a tactical board game. Same with swingy RNG. I love duelyst because of its tactical board focused nature. Spellhai goes against that, where as everything else matches up.

Yea I have to agree it’s really not a problem, and mantra even less so, but that doesent stop it from being utterly toxic. To loosely quote my previous post: “The three big decks could use a small nerf, while Spellhai is not overpowered, it is toxic and should be reworked.”

And again most of my rage and constant rants come from when I see someone complain about a lack of interaction but defend spellhai. If you hate both that’s fine.


15-20 health burst are very common from the deck which is easy lethal range that can be accomplished in a bunch of different ways while whittling them to that point is fairly easy, it’s way more common then double spike, and double spike is often not even possible, and if you don’t kill with it your probably going to loose to your opponents full hand. Which is why I have a problem with one, and only dislike the other.