Control is a more rare thing than most other archetypes in Duelyst; with the way the generals function, it is naturally easier to control space to pressure your opponent because there is a space you always control via your general. As a result, there aren’t many common control lists, as the lean is towards midrange. Prior to 1.74, there were 3 Managlow tracked lists. Control Sajj, Creep Cass, and Control Magmar. Now, with Sajj largely debilitated, and Control Magmar being ranked lowly/not widely represented, Cass is even moreso the go-to control general than she already was. It’s gotten to the point where I dread no matchup more than Cass v. Cass because it’s so incredibly slow.
Let’s look at what makes a control list for a second. A control list is generally comprised of a few things:
An abundance of methods, both direct and indirect, to respond to threats without giving up much ground, if any. Examples include Ephemeral Shroud, Daemonic Lure, Entropic Decay, and Egg Morph.
Tools to regulate the speed of the game; these generally take the form of Provokes in Duelyst, but can also include lifegain. These are included so you can survive long enough for your clocks to run out, or to establish them in the first place. In the previously mentioned lists, cards that achieve this effect would be Healing Mystic, Earth Sphere, Falcius, and Void Pulse.
A way to reliably close out a game once a certain turn (usually correlating to a mana cost) has been reached, called a clock, because they put a cap on the number of turns a game can continue before the player who controls the clock wins. Cassyva has Obliterate; Sajj has Spinecleaver; Magmar has their general attack as well as cards that can spiral out of control over the course of a few turns like Silithar Elder. The “harder” a clock is, (how difficult it is for an opposing player to deal with that clock) the slower it is, usually. The only cards that interact with Creep are space dispels and creep generation from the opposing player, and it builds from the first turn of a match, so it is a very hard clock. That’s the feeling of “is it coming?” you get when a Cass has 8 mana and decent creep generation. A softer clock would be Spinecleaver, because the Totems it spawns can be interacted with in a few ways, and there usually are not very many of them, as removal of the artifact becomes a high priority.
“So what’s Kara got to do with any of this?” you might ask. Well, I think she could be the core of a new control archetype. As far as the above points go, Vanar has the best removal in the game, indisputably. It’s abundant, it’s cheap, it’s effective and it even cycles. They can stall the game with walls, though this is not the best solution as they cannot deal with other minions. Vanar, also, do not have any cards which are great clocks on their own. Fortunately for us, the neutrals have us covered. Cards like Kron and Dioltas feature in (or at least Kron used to) many decks which want to slow down the game. Cards like Kron and Pandora also form reasonable, though somewhat vulnerable clocks once they come out. They’re usually outclassed by other options, but thanks to Kara’s new BBS, if we focus on them, we come out way ahead compared to other generals who opt to use these minions.
That said, here’s what I’ve come up with, accompanied by some explanations and then some other noodly tidbits: (My internet is currently nigh-unusable so I can’t get a deck image, I’ll update it later, just bear with me here.)
- Kara Winterblade
- Polarity x2
- Aspect Of The Fox x3
- Snow Chaser x3
- Chromatic Cold x3
- Hearth-sister x3
- Jaxi x3
- Cryogenesis x3
- Prismatic Illusionist x3
- Dioltas x3
- Sworn Sister L’kian x3
- Frostburn x2
- Inquisitor Kron x3
- Jax Truesight x3
- Pandora x2
Let’s start with the minions, as they form the backbone of the deck.
2-drops: We have Snow Chaser, Hearth-Sister, and Jaxi. Pretty standard fare as far as Vanar goes. Snow Chaser allows us to keep some amount of board presence at all times, and also draws from Cryogenesis. Hearth Sister allows us to deal with more evasive threats, and also reposition the board in our favor. Its body is also strong when used with BBS. Jaxi is a popular two-drop for its effect, but its usefulness is amplified by our general. Let’s say you open with a Jaxi, and then take a mana tile on the next turn to play a 4-drop. By your next turn, you’ll have BBS available to kill it and summon a 2/2 Mini-Jax, which is considerably more impactful to the game than a 1/1 Mini-Jax. This scenario is entirely plausible and the combo can occur at various points throughout the game; many times an opponent will try to delay the death of a Jaxi, hoping for a more favorable position to deal with its potential spawns. This works very well for us.
3-drops: All we have here is a Prismatic Illusionist. Our BBS activates Illusionist for a 3/2 token, and it complements our large removal suite well. Cards that can also fit here are Sojourner (In exchange for L’Kian) and Fenrir Warmaster (In exchange for Prismatic Illusionist).
4-drops: We’ve got Dioltas here, as well as L’Kian. Dioltas does a very, very good job of either slowing down the game with the Tombstone, or forcing our enemy to spend removal, making our clocks safer. Additionally, if the Tombstone is summoned on a turn in which you use BBS, the 1/11 can be Polarized™ to swing for 11 damage. L’Kian is our draw engine; Vanar has a good pool of cards for L’Kian to draw from. She is also a reasonable Polarity target as a 2/4; she is not threatening, and will sometimes be left alone, making Polarity a possibility. She can be swapped for Sojourner.
5-drops: As noted by many players, especially here on the forums by now, Kron is very, very good with new-Kara. At 6 mana it’s playing a Fireblazer alongside a 3/3, and is still a reasonable way to produce value or slow down a game at 5 mana. Welcome home, friend.
6-drops: Again, as noted by many, Jax is phenomenal with new-Kara. 10 power’ worth of ranged minions for 7 mana? Sign me up please. There isn’t really anything in the game comparable to this, and the only real counters are Tempest, Plasma Storm, and Breath of the Unborn. Left alone each Mini-Jaxi (Is that the proper pluralization?) is comparable to a Spinecleaver totem, 2 damage per turn.
7-drops: Here’s where the clock comes in. Pandora is very powerful in our hands; once she comes out, she must be dealt with, or your opponent will be quickly overrun. This is because around the time she comes out, we gain access to BBS every turn. Like other effects that summon minions at the end of the turn, Pandora’s wolves are also subject to our BBS. Using BBS every turn while Pandora is on the field is a must; it protects them from Plasma Storm and puts them out of the range of most disposable minions that you would normally prefer to trade into them. Additionally, at 3/10, Pandora’s body is nothing to speak very much of. Unless you have Polarity, like we do. Left alive for even a turn, Pandora can pull wins at the drop of a hat in this deck.
And that’s it for the minions! Next up: spells.
I won’t go over the self-explanatory removal spells, but I will go over Polarity and Cryogenesis.
Polarity - Polarity is, as far as I’m aware, not very commonly played. However, we have several reasonable targets in the form of L’Kian (Or potentially Sojourner), a buffed Dioltas Tombstone, and Pandora. While L’Kian might not be the most jaw-dropping target, it is definitely solid, and the other two can win games out of nowhere. Additionally, Polarity can help you trade smaller minions into larger ones. Need to get rid of a surprise Ironcliffe? Polarity, and then smack it with the Hearth-Sister you played last turn to get the other Ironcliffe out of your face. Stuck by a Tombstone? No need to smack it, just apply my patented Tombstone-B-Gone(also tm). Polarity is very versatile, and enables us to do some surprising things. However, if you don’t like Polarity, Gravity Well is also a very solid choice. It does not achieve the same effect of adding versatility, but slows the game down by a huge factor, which is something we want.
Cryogenesis - I don’t know how to feel about this one. I couldn’t find any Vespyr that helped the deck achieve its game plan, so I settled for Snow Chasers instead of Healing Mystics so as not to waste Cryo’s best feature, its cycle. If anyone has any better suggestions for this card or for Snow Chaser, please, be my guest (that applies to everything here actually, feedback is always appreciated.)
And that’s it for the deck! I think it’s important that I say I have not had a chance to play this yet; I’m missing the top end since I disenchanted Krons to make Creep Cass; I’m going to update this thread with more detailed matchup and game-relevant information when I buy packs to get the legendaries (hopefully soon!).
I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, and relax, you’re done reading