Onyx Jaguar Resource Compendium


UPDATED 11/18/16 - The Healyonar resource thread inspired me to do something similar for Onyxhai.

##Onyx Jaguar Enthusiast Resource

So you’re a Songhai player and suddenly you have an epiphany, “Reva is great you know… but I think Kaleos is really underused and has hidden potential!” So you embark on a journey to make Kaleos the best he ever was! Unfortunately, you cannot travel this journey alone. It is a dark, lonely, difficult path to take, and you’ll need help and informants along the way. Today, us Kaleos players shall unite and travel this treacherous road.

Anyone with a Kaleos deck is welcome to add on to this thread. There are a lot of strategies with Kaleos that are unconsidered, no question is stupid, and no card is too memey (except maybe Paddo) here. Contribute, brainstorm, theorycraft, this is your place.

##The Path of the Jaguar [Strategy]

The entirety of my Duelyst experience, so far, has been 100% unadulterated Songhai. I’ve thrown a few Reva matches into the mix, but so far I have about ~400 wins with Songhai and most of them being Kaleos. I have been working on Kaleos decks since I started playing, but I’m certainly not a know-it-all when it comes to this (currently only Diamond 1 never having reached S-Rank). I’ve still got much to learn, but here’s what I can share with you all:

##Win Condition

The biggest problem I’ve encountered with Onyx Jaguar is this: The cost is not worth the payoff. As Jaguar is a situational card, this problem/factor also tends to be situational. When you have two or three minions on the board it can often be worth playing Jaguar, but with one or no minions on the board it can feel like a dead card.

This can be mitigated two ways: Have an alternate hard win condition (e.g. Hamon Bladeseeker, Zendo, etc) or create intense synergies with Onyx Jaguar and other Songhai cards so the deck plays more reliable all-around. My original inclination was to go with the first option, which does create rather decent decks, but can end up with Onyx Jaguar seeing less play. The second option, when tried, did not work very well for me. I think this was mainly due to my deckbuilding skills being lackluster at the time, but I did eventually revisit the option and my new deck has around a 50% win rate at Diamond 1 (rather unrefined list though, just threw it together pretty quickly and tested for a couple of hours).

Unfortunately if you go with the second option (synergistic approach) when you miss the Onyx Jaguar play you needed to win the game, or worse, don’t draw Jaguar at all, it can be an uphill battle. I found that the best way to play around this is to have more value-oriented minions that work as pseudo wincons if not dealt with (Lantern Fox, Killing Edge+Any high HP minion, Shiro Puppydragon, etc).

##Board Presence

As previously stated this is one of Onyx Jaguar’s biggest strengths and biggest downfall. When playing Onyx Jaguar, you want a solid board state to take advantage of it. The logical conclusion is to thus include minions that will likely survive multiple turns… this is easier said than done, however. Choosing too many sticky minions that don’t threaten board state will result in you losing the board early/mid game and unable to take full advantage of Onyx Jaguar. Thus, the kind of minions you need are minions that let you threaten board state and come back from less advantageous board states whilst being sturdy.

Battle Panddo: Mostly ignored due to Lantern Fox’s prevalence, I believe this minion will soon see a resurgence. This minion is insane, I honestly think it is one of the top sleeper cards in Songhai. Not only is it effectively a 3/4 for 3 mana, it also functions as AoE and renders almost any 2-drop on the board vulnerable to being cleared by general hits. This card is especially effective in the Abyssian matchup, the only way they can remove it without their board state getting destroyed is by a Dark Transformation (5 mana card used on my 3 mana minion? Yes please!) or a dispel. No more will you be tormented by Cassyva’s lasso. Also, combined with Deathstrike Seal you now have a board wipe combination that can bring games back instantly.

Lantern Fox: Nerfed but still quite a powerhouse, this minion allows you to control the board more effectively via. the PFs it generates. Also, opponents may be reluctant to attack it if played away from them and may instead just chose to run instead of dealing with it immediately. They, of course, will regret this once your Onyx Jaguar hits the board and that Lantern Fox that could’ve been dealt with easily now becomes a huge 4/5 or 5/6 pain.

Gore Horn / Ki Beholder: These two are grouped together because I think they both have similar use cases and weaknesses, that is, they really need to be paired with IF to be immediately effective (though Ki Beholder’s opening gambit mitigates this weakness). When Inner Focused, they allow you to clear an enemy minion while also developing your board. They are very good in that, but when played alone both of these cards can feel rather lackluster.

Sword of Mechazor: Possibly my new favorite card. I contemplated grouping this card with the above two, as it is most useful when paired with IF. This card, however, is FAR stronger when used with Inner Focus. The Sword+IF combo is essentially a poor man’s makantor, which of course nobody plays against when vsing Songhai. This card can also be decent played alone, as a followup Mist Dragon Seal or Killing Edge (or both, ha!) can blindside your opponent. Disclaimer: I did not think of this combo. I saw it being used by Zoochz, which this combo was apparently more popular in previous versions of the game.

Spelljammer: Since the patch buffed this up to a 3/5, it is actually surprisingly good in Onyx Jaguar decks. It’s a very solid body and since it can be followed up by a Onyx Jaguar, you’re looking at a potential 5/7 or worse (for your opponent, that is). Even without the Onyx Jaguar, it trades with a lot of cards and the five health breakpoint is a major deal insofar as surviving a turn goes. This combined with the additional card draw (which helps Onyx Jaguar decks quite a bit, to be expanded on in the next section) creates a very, very good four drop.

Celestial Phantom: Now that Lantern Fox is “dethroned”, so to speak, it’s opened my mind. Celestial Phantom is actually… good. Yes, it’s good, specifically in Onyxhai. Why? For one, it trades with literally every minion on the game (other than Forcefield), so at worst you will be trading one for one. However, in almost every scenario it will end up gaining massive value due to Blink or otherwise be dispelled. If it’s dispelled, you still have a 1/5 body to work with when Onyx Jaguar gets played, which is huge. It forces your opponent to make awkward plays, and even if they have the perfect answer, you still have tons of breathing room and a potential upper-hand. Not even Repulsor Beasts or Lures can efficiently handle it due to Blink and the large amount of teleports in Onyxhai. It seems crazy, but it works.

##Card Draw

This is, interestingly, actually a pretty big deal for Onyx Jaguar decks. As minion-oriented as it is, you wouldn’t expect card draw to be a huge deal. While Onyxhai is a minion archetype, it also has a lot of teleports that you want to use. You also want to be playing a lot of minions, and just these two factors leads to empty hands if not managed properly. Fortunately, the current state of the game allows for Onyx Jaguar decks to have some pretty reliable card draw options.

Spelljammer: Apart from this being obviously one of the best draw cards in the game, see section above for more pros.

Sojourner: I’ll start by saying I haven’t tested this card. I can see it potentially working though, as it has the upside of five health so it is relatively hard to remove, and thus more likely to survive until Jaguar comes out. The problem is that this card doesn’t really contest board state by itself, so by playing it you’ll usually be taking a slower turn and your opponent will be able to get the upper hand. I can see ways the con of this could be mitigated though, so, don’t take my word and feel free to try this card.

Ancestral Divination: edited I previously said this card was bad. I take it back, this card is usable as well. It does not work in Midrange Onyxhai lists, but it can work if you build your deck properly. Generally, this is actually a decent card in a lot of situations. This actually is more useful than you’d think, as even getting two cards from it can be a life-saver sometimes. Should you be able to puke your hand and follow up with an Ancestral Divination, not only will your opponent be dumbfounded, but you’ll also be winning :sunglasses:. In all seriousness, I believe this card deserves more research and testing than it’s gotten thus far.


Coming soon


My OG Onyxhai list (not recommended):

Updated Gold Division Onyxhai (still not recommended):

S-Rank Onyx Backstabhai:

Onyx Swarm (S-Rank):


Midrange Onyxhai (S-Rank, deck by Ashindor pre-patch):


Onyx Jaguar Is Back (Top 50 S-Rank)
Does anyone have viable decklists for these cards?
Steps to nerf Songhai

I’ve been running Onyx Jaguar with a Backstabhai deck, running lots of Juxtapostions, MDS’s, using Kaleos’ BBS. It’s a really nice deck, the person I got it off took it to Top 20 S-Rank. I would say if Onyx Jaguar was 4 mana, would be a much nicer card to use


Yeah, it’s sorta awkward trying to get it on the board as a 5-mana card. I’m still hoping there’s some potential in it’s current state. I’ll try looking into some backstabhai decks though.


i like the chaos elementals. i didn’t even think of that combo but it makes sense


I have an Onyxhai deck I’ve really enjoyed playing. Haven’t used it this month but last month it performed really well in gold and lower diamond before dropping off. It plays backstabbers, Ki Beholder, Shiro, positioning spells, and then a mix of Jaguars and Hamon as finishers. I’ve messed around with different mixes of utility and late-game monsters, and it’s a pretty flexible and very fun deck, although it does struggle against top tier decks in upper diamond.

Here’s a video of some games with the initial decklist: https://youtu.be/GtteJOJMUM0

Here’s a video of me trying to rework the deck with various different cards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyWQr3Jrb0U

Apologies if the sound quality is bad, I’m still learning how to make good videos.

Keep the Jaguar dream alive!


Love the use of cards that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in Songhai. The videos are also quite well done, I’m surprised your channel isn’t more popular. This gives me a lot of things to experiment with, thanks. :grinning:


In my opinion, what you need is more minions. More sticky minions!

Sunsteel Defender, Azure Horn Shaman, Jaxi, etc are all great examples of minions which have higher chances of sticking around the board if positioned properly, and really synergize well with Kaleos BBS AND Onyx Jaguar because of this :]

The way I play Kaleos in S-Rank is with Zoo like builds, around 26-28 minions with triple L’Kian as card draw, and the rest being key spells such as IF, MDS, Juxta and Killing Edge!


That sounds very promising! :slight_smile: Could you please post or message me the decklist?


Where are the tigers and boars? Thought they were the major appeal of Jag. Would definitely cut an Edge and the L’Kians for Eclipses or Jammers.


you might want the 3 drop that pings every one for 1 damage. it can hurt the elemental and the fox, which gives their effects a chance to activate.


Warning: Word wall incoming, see bottom for TLDR.

After a pretty much complete remake of the deck I’ve finally got somewhat of a good synergy going on. Thanks to the advice from @mogwai and @ashindor I cut quite a lot of things from the deck that just wasn’t doing much of anything in way of the archetype I was going for.

As you can tell I completely cut phoenix fires and L’Kians out of the deck in favor of 3x Twin Strike. The increased board clear and card draw feels quite nice, far more consistent than L’Kian. Next I completely cut out Katara. It, unfortunately, often gets tiger’d (with the tiger left standing) and was taking up crucial space that could be used for other cards. That and the fact that backstabhai just didn’t work out for me caused me to get rid of it.

Chaos Elementals are gone :frowning:. I really liked the concept of them, but it didn’t work out well in practice. Playing them on turn 3/4 just felt like you were putting yourself behind tempo-wise since it usually takes up your entire turn. Then it wasn’t even guaranteed to survive long enough to get the Onyx Jaguar out. Since I’m trying to make a viable deck, not a meme, I cut it from the list.

I pretty much remade the deck. It plays more for board control in the form of setting up an early ranged advantage (if you have it) and keeping the enemies’ board wiped. Alternatively against Vetruvian and some specific generals (cough KARA cough) where you can’t play for the board, you can just rush them down w/ killing edge + onyx jaguar buffed kaidos/foxes/ki beholders.

There are a few experimentals/tech cards I’m trying out currently. I had to put a shroud in just because I kept finding tons of mechazor decks on the ladder and they slammed me since onyx bear seal doesn’t work. Scarlet Viper is a very interesting card combined with inner focus and jaguar. If your opponent doesn’t have a dispel they will typically risk losing the game or sacrificing a vital minion (with things like jux available).

Keshrai is my next experimental card. Against certain factions it’s essentially “delay the enemy’s plans by one turn”. This can be vital if played on 4 or 5 mana to buy time for the Onyx Jaguar or Zendo along with possibly playing a jax/kaido/ki beholder if later in the game. It also has a nice body to buff up with Jaguar since with blink+movement it suddenly becomes a giant 7/5.

Grandmaster Zendo has sticked and it’s usefulness has convinced me to craft a second copy once I get enough spirit. It is a pretty interesting card and I want to explore it more. It’s won me a few games but I want to see how it plays with two copies for more consistency.

Shiro is a fun card. It has a good synergy with the ranged minions and is yet another threat that says “deal with me or this game will spiral out of control quickly”. If you realize your opponent has no answer to ranged then you can just plop it down next to a Jaxi and Ki Beholder then laugh once you magically draw into an Onyx Jaguar for lethal.

Which lastly, Onyx Jaguar. I honestly feel like it’s in a pretty good spot. I’d like to see it stay as a 5 drop but maybe get buffed up to 4/4 (edit: thinking twice 3/4 would be better so it can still be inner focused) so it doesn’t just die to Phoenix Fires and such. It’s usually not a card that you play if your board is empty, but with this improved deck that is seldom the case. Generally by the time you get to play Jaguar the opponent will have wasted all his removal on the onslaught of ranged minions/kaidos/foxes/puppydragons and won’t be able to deal with you pushing out tons of big threats.

tl;dr: The deck is very good now and I can probably make Diamond later in the month (currently in Gold). It still requires fine-tuning to get more mileage out of it and I’m still doing a lot of experimentation. The future is promising! :grinning:

S-rank at last!

I actually also tried out Saberspine Tigers w/ Jaguar but it’s not as good as you might think. A 4/3 rush body isn’t that huge when you consider you can get the same thing with way less resources via. Inner Focus. I don’t have any Tusk Boars crafted unfortunately but I feel like they’d be the same deal.

edit: or with Kara


I’m curious as to why you don’t use MDS, it seems to synergize well with jaguar.


Mostly because Jux is more flexible. I like MDS but running 3x Jux + MDS with Kaleos is excessive. I could pull out one jux (and something else) and maybe run 2x Jux and 2x MDS but I’ve never felt like I’ve lost a game that I could’ve otherwise won if I had MDS available. Having Juxtaposition available consistently is also super important since this deck doesn’t run all that much removal/dispel.


Make it cost 4 mana, done!


It increases your reach by 1 for each Jag, 2 with Jag+Blink. and that isn’t even considering spending extra cards, or having 2 active Jags. Jag makes Rush better, when Rush is already nuts. I get how Jag stacks with Gorehorn, which seems to be what you’re building around, but you don’t need Inner Focus (an additional card cost) for a string combo when your guys just come out moving. Furthermore, any health buffs on Saberspine are always powerful, because a Saberspine that survives is an even bigger nuisance. Tusk Boar lets you spring Mirror Meld into the mix, and can also be IF’d after the first move.


Nah, I actually do not like Gore Horn at all and I think Saberspine Tiger performed better than it (gore horn is one of the experimental cards, just didn’t bother to mention it in the original post). On second thought I actually agree with your comments on the Rush mechanic interaction with Onyx Jaguar. I still can’t say I’m fond of the tiger. I do however like the idea of Tusk Boar since it’s a two mana play (might be my next crafting investment!)

The three mana cost on the tiger is too high to be worth playing over the other options. I could just be playing literally other 3-mana or higher minion card (except gore horn which I almost never play at all) in my deck and it’d be better. Ki Beholder hinders opponent’s momentum. Fox+IF+Blink is suddenly a 4/6 that’s generating Phoenix Fires and has to be dealt with. Keshrai often survives a turn due to the opening gambit and grows to a 6/4 or 7/5. Usually I have something on the board when I play Jaguar so I can also get a killing edge on a minion.

Tiger was really situational so I got tired of replacing it all the time and removed it.


:stuck_out_tongue: Well, a teammate in a Discord I take part in has been trying the Jag deck super hard (Connery0). The most impressive thing about Boar and Tiger though, is that they turn Jux into a waaay better Repulsor Beast when your opponent develops something you can’t handle, or want to put off for a couple of turns (even if you have the Pandamorph in hand) like Kron, Aymara Healer, Nimbus, Primus Shieldmaster, Taygette etc (regardless of whether or not Jag is on the board.) That might sound kindof silly, but it creates better windows for killing your opponent, or getting far enough ahead that when you do burn the Pandamorph (OBS), you aren’t taking off part of a turn where you need to be ahead.

Another more minor suggestion, since the Tiger reminded me. Have you tried Saberspine Seal? Killing threats with your General allows you to continue developing your board- and as always, that extra bit of reach is always useful.


I definitely understand the idea with the rush minion + jux. It always feels terrible to have to use blink or inner focus just to get a threat away from my general w/ jux.

I typically stay away from the burn/cheap spells since this deck doesn’t run that much draw. That being said gore horn is doing absolutely nothing so I may try saberspine seals or craft the tusk boars (just got a legendary and prismatic epic from one spirit orb :smile:).


I tried out Tusk Boars for a bit and didn’t feel they were really a great choice. The problem is that since we’re not running Mirror Meld shenanigans, Boar isn’t that great unless you’ve got a Jag already on the board. Jag, in turn, will very often get killed or dispelled the first turn it’s out, which means you’re looking at a 7 mana play for Jag + Boar which just isn’t that impressive by itself. Tiger might be a better choice since it’ll stick to the board and maybe get a chance to move multiple times if Jag lives, but in general I think Jag is most effective when you can drop it and then move around your already established board to get the most out of its ability before it dies/gets dispelled.

I also found that Gore Horn didn’t quite get there. I’m running Wings of Paradise its place, still not loving it. Sunsteel Defender sounds kind of tasty though, that might be my next change.

Curious to hear how the Keshrai work out! There’s a lot of Reva out there lately, it’d be interesting if Keshrai slowed the heavy spell decks down at all.