I never understood the reasoning behind old patch that buffed Divine Bond to 2cost and nerfed Matyrdom to 3cost. After the last balance patch, both cards are now 3cost. I find Control Lyonar very difficult to play due to the faction’s subpar removal and the current Meta seems to favour mid-range and aggro decks (although the same may be said for most other factions).
Examination of Lyonar Removal Options
Lyonar’s current in-faction options are:
- Lasting Judgement: Strictly only useful in the early-game
- Lucent Beam: Healyonar is a bit slow right now, Lucent beam is resultatnly a bit too slow to set up.
- Matyrdom: 3cost makes it awkward, healing an enemy general makes this card awful.
- Sky Burial: Very conditional, rarely sees play. Common consensus seems to make this out to be terrible.
- Decimate: Very very conditional. Rarely sees play in this meta. A conditional board clear at significant tempo loss due to it’s costliness.
- Circle of Life: Tends to be a ‘win more’ card. This card will always be a significant tempo loss if played with a less developed board.
Although this is quite a long list, a lot of these Lyonar control options are very inefficient.
Of course, it may be argued that inefficient control is balanced for Lyonar since: the faction has (i) Sunbloom, (ii) efficiently stated minions and (iii) Divine bond.
Adressing the arguments:
(i) Ever since the 1-draw change, cheap cards in Lyonar that are played with a negative card advantage tend to be non-viable. While I am not saying Sunbloom is no longer viable, it is a much weaker card. Although potent as dispel, Sunbloom does not generate board presence nor reduce the opponent’s board presence, leading to a slight tempo loss and slightly more significant card advantage loss. This is why many aggro decks run Ephemereal Shroud (2/2 body that can be buffed to 4/2 with Argeon’s BBS) or fewer midrange decks run Lightbender (3/3 body that can dispel up 8 spaces and potentially dispel targets positioned against Sunbloom).
(ii) Although Lyonar has efficiently stated minions (in particular: Windblade Adept, Silverguard Knight, Ironcliffe Golem), those efficiently stated minions are frequently removed by other factions even more efficiently. Although I admit this is a weaker argument, since other factions have strong, 2cost and versatile removal, it allows an opponent to easily generate a board advantage against Lyonar by removing a minion and placing one of their own.
To name a few of the more efficient removal options:
Windblade Adept: Natural Selection, Phoenix Fire, Daemonic Lure, Spectral Blade, Maw/Bloodtear + General,
Silverguard Knight: Natural Selection, Spectral Blade + Ping, Cryogenesis + Ping, Phoenix Fire + General.
Ironcliffe Golem: Natural Selection, Hailstone Prison, Aspect of the Wolf, Repulsor Beast, Egg Morph, Plasma Storm.
(iii) Divine Bond has been talked to death almost everywhere. The general consensus seems to be that DB is one of the cards that traps Lyonar’s faction design. The existence of DB may be why factions may be entitlted to stronger removal options than Lyonar, since DB becomes a bursty, swingy OTK card once Lyonar develops a significant board presence. Personally, since 1-drop, I find DB to be a very inconsistent card that is a dead-draw when there I have no board-presence and infuriating to try top-deck as a win-con.
Conclusion: The best removal in the game
The following removal options in Duelyst are 2cost, versatile and can target any minion on the board (provided it is not spell-immune, with the exception of chromatic cold which can even target spell-immune minions) . These cards are reasonably effective in almost every stage of the game.
- Abyss: Daemonic Lure
- Magmar: Natural Selection
- Vanar: Hailstone Prison & Chromatic Cold
Matyrdom is 3cost and heals the opponent general. Matyrdom is indeed versatile in it’s ability to target any minion and to remove any minion unconditionally. But is the 3cost of Matyrdom really warranted when the removal effect is weighted against the healing factor? I woud argue no, but I’ll leave that open to more experienced players than I to discuss. What do you guys think?