Let's talk about "interactivity"


Seeing people mention the word “interactive” in their arguments used to really trigger me because everyone has their own definition of the word and as such it had lost it’s meaning. At this point it doesn’t even matter what is the real meaning of the word and I don’t even care but just completely disregard posts with the word used in it. But despite that, I’m still kind of interested in all the various ways people decide to interpret it.

  • Some people don’t realize this is a turn based game where opponent can’t act during your turn and they still perceive every card with an instant effect to be uninteractive, be that a spell or a minion.

  • Some people only find minions that provide value across multiple turns, ones you’re not supposed to trade with uninteractive, despite their reliance on other variables.

  • Some people only perceive cards that can deal damage from hand to be uninteractive.

  • Some people don’t even care what the word is supposed to mean but just use it as a synonym for something negative in order to describe a card they dislike.

These are just some examples I’ve came across to. Obviously there’s more but you get the idea. It makes no sense to utilize the word anymore in any kind of meaningful sentence. It’s a shame really.

Discuss. Or not, whatever. I just felt the need to put it out there.

Interactivity, and its place in the meta

number 4 definition is the most popular actually

Positioning: What If Some Spells Had A Range?

This post is uninteractive. *Walks away*


To me, “uninteractive” means that there is no possibility to effectively play around the card. It is not a matter of how strong the card is, but rather what you can do to avoid the card has a decisive impact on the outcome of the game. This implies that none of the current cards is uninteractive to me. A card which does 25 damage from hand would be uninteractive, but there is no such card.

Rather, the term “uninteractive” should apply to a gameplay plan allowed by the excessive synergy of a set of cards, which favours a strategy where the opponent’s moves can be mostly disregarded. Spellhai is a good example of this: a lucky hand can lead to easy victory from an empty board, just using out-of-hand damage, amplified by other cards in the deck. Healing is a counter-strategy, but some hands are so crazy that it does not help. Similar considerations apply to aggro Magmar: there the issue is particularly serious, given that the new cards allow one to get more and more additional steam to push the uninteractive plays.

These are my two cents.


Well, in Magic- “interactivity” is just a term that means “players exchange resources.” But the concept really cuts both ways, since while an interactive game is desirable, some interactions can lead the game to crumple states that make one player entirely unable to play in any meaningful way (see Thoughtseize)

Misuse of the term is rampant in the area of the magic community typically occupied by “scrubs”; players who like to tout themselves as tournament level players- but typically lack a tournament-level understanding of the game. IE, they know enough about the game to do well at FNM, but don’t include anybody better than them in their playtesting circles. The misuse of the term erupted pretty hard in the various Hearthstone forums- mostly with players whining about Druid and Handlock (both intensely interactive decks that kill with some kind of burst as opposed to riding the attrition train- making them personal favorites.)

In Duelyst, the least interactive decks are Giga Vaath and Tempo Argeon, and there’s still a huge exchange of resources involved with any plays they make- because Duelyst is one of the most grossly (and in someways detrimentally) interactive card games available. The game could use more tools in most factions, but on the whole- Generals having an attack value, health being permanent, anything that utilizes the board squares etc is interactive.


Things that both do not use the grid and do out of hand damage. Everything else can be answered or countered.

For example Rush is fine. Gaze is not.


Would totally disagree with Rush being okay. Not entirely because of it’s complexities in relations to the game’s mechanics. But more the general accessibility of it. The designers should have been able to assess that Saberspine Tiger would break as many archetypes as it has- where Tusk Boar and Makantor Warbeast capture the spirit of the keyword at it’s best. Rather, Rush makes sense on a few minions and things that literally don’t work without it (like Dervishes.) But the game is worse off for it’s prevalence in lieu of splitting up most of what has rush into “Attacks on entry” and “Can move once each turn even if deactivated.”

Cards and life are resources, exchanging one for another is interactive.

Interactivity, and its place in the meta

I think I have a more abstract concept of interactivity but I am not sure I always use the word that way and I haven’t thought about it enough to really nail it down in regards to what it specifically means for duelyst.

The short of my definition would be that decision trees of two players are closely related to each other. That is, when one player makes a decision (however small), it affects the outcomes of other player’s decisions, whose decisions subsequently affect the outcomes of the first player’s. The magnitude of the sum of those changes in outcome over the course of the game (and maybe even the more of those kinds of decisions have to be made) the more interactive the game is. That’s my half-arsed attempt at a definition.

@paralykeet I’m interested in how you think interactivity (your definition, of course) can be detrimental, especially any specific examples from any card game.


We do seem to agree on the accessibility aspect of it, but I really hate that rush nerf suggestion that keeps coming up. There are issues, but rush it’s self is not one of them.

Rush is fine, it’s a staple effect in many games like mtg, and has never been a problem. Unlike spell damage it still requires board use, has limited range, and is countered by provoke and nightwatcher. However it should be confined to factions and units carefully balanced around it like Magmar does.

Inner focus is really bad because it is to hard to balance, and tiger ought to be a Magmar card because as a neutral card it’s existence holds other factions back. Rush is fine, but it should be closely tied to faction identity. The suggested nerfs are awful and would cripple Magmar who is very balanced.

Revenant is the only other outlier, but at seven mana it better be over powered. Many games end long before Rev can even come out, powerful yes, but it has to be to see any play, it’s their factions Mankantor/Aymara I want to see more powerful late game stuff that encourages playing a slightly slower game, not less.

Meldhai is an example of why boar is an issue, although it has been toned down enough to where it is probably fine and it does fit their identity.

Since I posted that Magmar has unfortunately become unhealthy. And why is that? Because it recieved two cards that enable massive out of hand damage that does not use the grid. Now rush which was previously balanced is just over kill. But rush is not the issue, neutral rush, cards that grant rush, and the new stuff is.


I’m my opinion, calling a card “not interactive” is not a problem. Using it to announce a problem without going into detail about WHY, is a problem.

Saying something is not interactive is making a generalized statement without discussing why it is a problem or how it should be resolved. Afterall, no matter what the card is it does, everything has an interaction. Whether they allow a significant degree if counter play is another issue.

Even cards like Gaze have implications when played. For example, when is the optimal timing? Sure, its uses are limited, but it still influences and is influenced by other factors. Your opponent may change their tactics sure to the unexpected damage, or due to a welcome arrival in their hand. These changes are typically invisible, but they do exist.

Please note: I’m not trying to defend the card. I’m just using it as an example.


Rush isn’t the same as haste entirely because of the boardgame element at play. Haste (Rush) in MtG is closer to the effect that Dust Wailer has than to the effect that Saberspine does, and that’s fundamentally why Magic uses it primarily to build up the color Red. Which again, is the issue at play. Black and Green get Rush in Magic too, but far less than Red, and Blue and White only very rarely get Rush because the idea is to balance it on faction-based scarcity. Tiger, Elucidator and Revenant ALL break this because they can be repositioned, pumped, AND Duelyst works on an “attacker’s choice” system.

It’s also silly to compartmentalize it as “nerfing Rush”- because it’s taking the complex elements of Rush and making design space out of simpler keywords (which we already get in minions like Maw and Dancing Blades.) Rather, it’s restraining the number of Rush minions available based on which faction they belong to, simply because Rush minions that are placed can bridge almost the entire map to attack while wearing a pump- something that is powerful and unreasonable to balance outside of minions like Tusk Boar and Makantor Warbeast- where the opportunity cost of Rushing pumps is offset by mana/additional card cost, or the effect is redundant with the rest of the faction to an extent where it doesn’t violate anything.

Consider old Third Wish. A buff spell that powerful simply can’t exist for as long as Tiger does. Or Kara’s old BBS, or Argeon’s BBS on Tigers. That sort of ability isn’t able to exist on spells or minions without breaking the game, because Tigers will push it over the top. Abyssian mirrors devolve into Revenant gunslinging, and Magmar mirrors tend to turn into "run away until you get Elu+TWave. The very existance of the board complicates Rush severely- and forces card for health exchanges that result in overly anti-climactic games.


Gaze and Rush are sortof the posterboys for detrimental interaction right now. But in Magic, I always jump to Thoughtseize and Force of Will. Counters with insufficient mana costs, and hand disruption that gives the caster too many options ontop of the information allotted create a sort of resource exchange that make one player limp. Usually, the way interaction will be detrimental is due to a lack of opportunity cost per the effect (usually due to low mana costs, no mana costs, wording that is too loose, wording that doesn’t work as intended.) Another fantastic MtG example is Armageddon. A spell that destroys all lands, the primary economy of MtG, and so the players exchange resources, but the player with the cheapest spells, and the most nonlands on board almost automatically wins.


I already agreed with you about neutral rush and cards that give rush holding back design.

I also think it’s quite the opposite with rush vs haste. Rush is weaker then haste because of the board, because of the limited reach, where as haste does not need to worry about reach. And close range opening gambits are weaker then both as they have even less reach.


When my dad tells me to help him its uninteractive, because i can’t object.


A haste unit’s movement is based on where the unit is placed to begin with. Dervishes, for example, have goofy, semi random placement. But a Rush minion’s reach is extended by the General who plays it’s own movement, plus the minion’s movement, plus the square given to it from the initial placement. Meaning, on average, hitting an opponent 4-6 tiles away with a Rush minion isn’t unheard of. It’s vastly superior to say, Flying- because you don’t have to wait another turn to traverse half of the board or more. Which is entirely the reason to keep it exclusive to units like Tusk Boar and Warbeast, where that sort of flexible, easy answer is the whole draw to the card in the first place (and associated costs are balanced on that.)


But at the same time good positioning, provoke, blocking the general, making minion walls, nightwatcher, or placing things diagonally means there is tons you can do about rush, and to prevent it from reach backline minions. Yes they have good reach, but it is still limited and does use the grid, and that’s what matters.

While flying has not been an issue, I do dislike it fundamentally as we want to avoid things that don’t use the grid.

Neutral rush, and things that give rush lead to toxic combos like meldhai that need to be toned down. However toning these down, or limiting the acessability of rush to prevent them in the first place, is completly different from nerfing rush. I whole heartedly agree with the first two, and staunchly object to the last, and find it odd that you keep puting those very very different approaches together.


Then we were never in disagreement? All I’ve suggested is reducing the number of things with Rush, and substituting Rush on some things (the Rush cards that would have it otherwise removed) with abilities that work similarly, but lack either mobility or damage for the sake of not making Rush as common as it is.


Yep fully agree there, you just also mentioned:

Which I find to be a horrid idea. Or perhaps I misunderstood it, I thought it was the “can either attack or move” thing again.

Tiger should belong to mag. Tusk boar is undercosted for what rush does, currently it’s fine. But I think both it and focus really hold Songhai back. Mag should be the rush faction, and should be carefully designed around it. Other than tiger being neutral, I think everything else is currently fine.

Sadly Gaze is evil incarnate, and to a lesser extent tectonic, is ruining the previously balanced faction that I loved so much, and spent so long defending rush in. Would much rather see that stuff change, then Mag loose its identity as the rush faction.


Oooh. Well I would never claim to have an exact idea on what a good replacement would be! I just think that for Tiger and Elucidator, we would want an ability that retains the movement element of the ability- or possibly even expands on it in a different direction. But with Revenant, the movement element is what pushes it far too hard with flexibility, where attacking or destroying something on the way in is what makes the card functional.


In a turn-based game like this I’d define “non-interactive” as a card, effect or ability that provides no opportunity for counter play.

Let me emphasize a couple points.

  1. “Non-interactive” does not automatically mean overpowered. Phoenix Fire is entirely non-interactive. Phoenix Fire is not overpowered. Heaven’s Eclipse is non-interactive but again not overpowered.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky…

  1. Sometimes PART of a card can be non/interactive, but that does NOT make the card as a whole non-interactive. The ABILITY of Dancing Blades is non-interactive, but then a creature remains that is entirely interactive for both the player and the opponent. The card draw aspect of Scions First Wish is non-interactive. It gets played, it happens, a card gets drawn, period. Nothing the other guy can do to stop that. However, after that, both the card itself and the creature it’s buffing are perfectly interactive. The spell can be dispelled and the creature it’s on can be attacked, targeted, etc.

Hopefully that clears some things up!


I am like you, in that I think the word uninteractive is used without a meaning, but rather as a tool to state something is extreamly unfun, to increase the validity of supposed argument without adding argumentation to it. Its like ‘very’ in ‘very bad’. That needs to change, we cant have such a strong, descriptive word flow around without a defined meaning and therofore, it needs to be defined. Uninteractive is first and foremost a negation of the word interactive, so if we can define what interactive is, obviously in the context of a Duelyst, we can simply negate that to get what uninteractive really referes to.

Since Duelyst is a turn based game, we can compare it to a civilized debate, in which 2 people exchange turns actively talking (presenting their arguments/threats or disproving opponents) and passively listening. In that case the interaction is answering (disproving opponents argument/answering treath) or adding your own arguments (developing treaths) to what the other person said. Trying to talk in the middle of someones sentence wouldn’t be interacting, it would be interupting, which is simply rude. I assume you can follow the methaphor so far so I won’t explain in detail how this translates to Duelyst, but simply put, interacting in debate consists of ending or forming your sentence in such a way that the other person hopefully can’t answer it. In this comparison spells would be logical fallacies, made to fool people into thinking you fairly answered to opponents argument. You can see how Void steal could be seen as “straw man” while Spiral technique could represent “ad homine”.

Uninteractive part of debate would be asking a rethorical question, asking a question that can’t and isn’t supposed to be answered, but expecting an answer regardless. Now, I know this isn’t a definition you were hoping for but its the best I got, uninteractive cards are rethorical questions of Duelyst, so if you ever feel like you are supposed to answer a rethorical question while playing, you just got smacked with uninteractive card.

Feel free to agree, add to or disagree with my view.