Let's talk Grandmaster Zendo


Simple and straight to the point.

Is Grandmaster Zendo good or bad design, and if so, what does he open up?

Ignoring his power level for the moment, I want to focus on Zendo’s design. A recent core tenant in card design is “Don’t fuck over your opponent”, or to be more exact “Don’t force your opponent to do things.”. This is why discards effects and effects like “You MUST attack this turn” or “If you have a spell, you MUST play it.” tend to not show up. Because it’s not very fun for the opponent to do something against their will.

And then in walks Grandmaster Zendo. A minion that literally forces the enemy to move and attack against their will. And not just any enemy. It forces their general, their player itself, to perform actions they might not be willing to do. Is this healthy design? Obviously, I’m going with ‘No’. No matter how small, taking the ability to act and choose away from the opponent is an unfun mechanic. Not only does it affect your entire strategy, but it does so in a way thats intrinsically irritating. Imagine in the next expansion we got a card like “Grandmaster Nezdo, 6 mana, 4/6, If your opponent has their BBS available they must activate it.” That doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? It forces your opponent to act outside of their control. And Zendo is exactly the same, or so I feel.

So more to the point, I’d like to hear how others feel. Is this kind of design acceptable, or not? If it is, why? If it isn’t, what would be a good replacement?


Zendo doesn’t force you to do something really, rather he acts like a psuedo stun on your general that eliminates options.

hes not really forcing you to play cards or something that forces your mana to change, and as such is not what you are describing. rather its a much more tame form that doesn’t force actions from the other player, rather stuns and damage’s one of the opponent’s pieces. and stuns exist on like 3 other factions so its nothing new.

Zendo is fine, he stands to support a songhai that would be fun and interesting to play against, rather than the garbage we currently have.


He’s a meme.



I don’t think it’s so straightforwards; it’s just that effects like that would require additional UI elements or would be too confusing to use, for the most part. Consider discard, that you used as an example; targeted discard would need a UI display for the opponent’s whole hand, which is more than likely immediately out of the question. Non-targeted discard is out of the question, because without its targeted counterpart, it makes the effect feel wholly random, and thus ranging from merely frustrating to particularly unfair to the receiving player (I think discard is awesome and this is just one reason, related to your topic, that it wouldn’t work in Duelyst).

Besides, Zendo fits with Songhai’s theme; he disrupts enemy positioning, and deals damage immediately, although unconventionally. If you look at it from this angle:

It’s the same as that Vanar spell that moves a general, plus an attack by a minion. You do have to remember attacks work both ways.

As a final point, isn’t the whole point of the game to force players to do things they might not be willing to do by putting them into bad positions? I’ll contend a difficult position and say that if a player has to do something, then it doesn’t matter whether it’s forced or not.


Leave Zendo alone!


i own no zendos but have lost a few games to him. i do not, however, think he needs a change. he’s a really cool effect that can lead to some amazing wins and i don’t think I’ve ever been mad when i died to zendo :smiley:


I think it’s a funny cool card. I like the design, it’s cool :slight_smile:


Not just Zendo, but I think battlepets as a whole would have been much more intuitive if they activated at the end of their owners turn (not saying he is op, just would prefer if you could react to his effect).


if that was the case, all battle pets have rush


Is it really such a core tenant though? I think those features have their place.

I think Zendo is neat. Annoying to play against when I have my artifact Sajj out sure and I’ll curse his name when I hit a giant buffed version of him because battle pet technology is too dumb to recognize that Sajj has Blast, but I appreciate that he exists.

edit- Oh prffft this thread is a month old I barely noticed. Guys be more careful with your necromancy!


Obviously, they would still enter the game exhausted.


I see where you’re coming from, at first glance it definitely seems like one of those “toxic” mechanics that are just infuriating. The likes of which where you make enemy discard cards from their hand or just in general directly fuck with their resources. However, I don’t think it really applies to Zendo.

It’s effect is basically “while this card is alive, the enemy general is stunned and takes this minion’s attack damage at the start of their turn”.

Sure, it makes our general act in a way that we don’t want to but is it such a big deal? All the general does is move and/or attack. After that you can still deal with the card like you would with any other. You don’t see people complaining about provoke or stun minions because it forces you to act in a different way, or any other keyword for that manner. It’s how the game works.

If there was a similar effect to this on a much larger scale, they yeah, I’d agree. You don’t want the players to feel like they’re not in control. But as it’s now, despite the card technically taking control over your general over a turn or two, it’s effect on the game and player’s mentality is far from being overly negative, if negative at all.


Grandmaster Zendo is certainly a powerful minion. It’s ability fits the mold perfectly for Songhai’s board manipulating play style. I think of it as a cross-breed between Rush and Stun, causing the enemy general to stay in a certain spot while forcing at least one attack on the general,

There are plenty of cards in Songhai that force certain plays. Phoenix Fire and Spiral Technique force damage. Juxtaposition forces your minions onto certain positions on the board. Inner Focus allows an opponent to attack with a minion with 3 or less attack right away, forcing you to take the hit in some shape or form.

I have to say though that the Songhai faction doesn’t really have a late-game minion to play without this card (Storm Kage?), and that Songhai needed a late-game card that fit the faction. Do I think it’s strong? Yes, I’ve used it plenty of times myself. But I’m personally not convinced of it being too strong, not yet.


My only contribution to this thread is that I think ‘Zendo’ is the most badass name ever.


I agree. I personally dislike the design. It controls the movement and position of your general as well as taking face damage against your will.