Positioning: What If Some Spells Had A Range?


A lot of post-Rise salt seems to involve out-of-hand damage. Specifically, Starhorn’s new toys which can do some absurd face burn with no regard to position. It’s one thing to have a sniper minion that can be removed, cornered, traded for or rushed into. (See: Decimus, White Widow, any ranged/blast unit.) Your opponent has to work and sacrifice board position to protect them until they can do their thing, or sit on combo cards in hand.

But sometimes, out-of-hand damage is just plain annoying. Songhai caught a lot of flack lately for “ignoring the board” with their spell-centric direct-damage shenanigans… which is disappointing, considering they have one of the most interesting position-dependent keywords (Backstab) that keeps getting ignored in favor of less tricky spells and face damage.

So - what if some spells had casting range requirements?

There are many spells already with prerequisites for their optimal use, and you can play around them. For example;

-Sun Bloom: Don’t play valuable engine cards directly adjacent to each other.
-Bone Swarm: Don’t play lots of 1 or 2-health minions next to your general.
-Entropic Decay/Dominate Will - Don’t play big fatties right next to the enemy general.
-Warbird: Don’t line up your minions for a kill shot.
-Star’s Fury: Don’t line up your minions for maximum dervish spawning.

Some spells, however, don’t interact with the board - stuff like Phoenix Fire and Entropic Gaze. These can be frustrating when they bypass all your careful positioning and forethought in favor of blunt out-of-hand damage. To that end, it might make sense to give uninteractive spells that target Generals a range at which they can be cast.

Let’s say Phoenix Fire has a range of 4 - you could cast it on turn 1 as Player 2, provided the enemy walks all the way forward as is usually the custom. If you want to go maximum Spellhai, in which you’d deliver blows to the face on a regular basis, you’d have to keep within range of the enemy General to do so. If we give something a little more blunt like Entropic Gaze a range of 3 or even 2, you’ll have to be more up in the general’s face - in range of their retaliation options - to unload face damage. Even artifacts like Bloodrage Mask would benefit from a change like this, as they’d feel a little more “fair” in terms of sniping.

This doesn’t apply everywhere, of course - some spells rightly ought to keep their range, or else dealing with minions stuck in corners becomes incredibly annoying. (Siphon Energy, anyone?) Spells that target Generals are the only case where a range limitation would make things feel more fair.

So what do you say? Good idea? Bad idea?


I absolutely agree, and for some of the same reasons discussed in the thread on Ranged & Blast.

“Interactivity” is a bit of a buzzword here right now and I think you’ve nailed how we should be thinking about the interactivity of spells: it hinges on a player’s ability to play around it (either proactively or reactively). Making positioning matter is one of Duelyst’s key strengths, and one that a Range qualifier (and proper conditions in general, really) for spells that don’t have sufficient ones would help strengthen.

So yes, good idea.


Imagine what it would be like if Cassy’s BBS was range limited. :astonished:

I certainly agree that adding a range qualifier to spells would make the game more complex and interesting. Several spells already have a range requirement, so it is not be like this would be difficult to implement.


Very good idea, that should open up some new playstyles and cards (like minions that add/reduce casting range or one that counts as the general to cast them) :3.

And Players must think more about positioning. I would give you some more like, but i can’t, how sad is this.



Why not? Though I don’t like the idea of giving each spell a range, I think that adding ranges to problematic spells would be a very elegant way to solve their issues. For instance, if Entropic Gaze did 4 damages to an adjacent general, it would still be an excellent card, but much easier to play around.

This does not even require to significantly rework dangerous cards or introduce new mechanics. This is actually one of the best suggestions I have read on these forums.


Yea, we should make all of vetruvians removal be range limited, that way when they play obelysks and their opponent puts a night watcher in the corner they just have to concede instantly

We should make siphon energy only target spaces around your general

Oh wait…


I see no reason why this would be any kind of problem. I would say go for it.


I like the “line” and “flower” shaped ranges for spells. Generally, for games with a board I find global effects to be in poor taste, even if they are occasionally necessary.

I really like Inner Oasis and Tempest because they care about what’s on the board, and modify that.
I really dislike Plasma Storm because as a global it hoses too much too easily. But with a large flower AoE, or a General-centric AoE, it would be more fun.
I wish Circle of Dessication has a 7 space flower shape with the Vetruvian General in the center as it’s area of effect- in exchange for a significantly lower mana cost (5 or 6)

||||---X--- |||--XXX-- ||-XXXXX- XXXGXXX ||-XXXXX- |||--XXX-- ||||---X---

X represents spaces hit, G represents the General, - and | are placeholders to make the image somewhat clear.


I really love this idea, however if you watch some old videos or look at the Kickstarter there used to be effects like this. At some point it was scrapped, I have always been curious as to why.

I suspected that with how small the board is limiting range had very little affect as anything between near or unlimited gave an excuse to give something better stats then unlimited when in reality the range made almost no difference. Without making a larger board, and thus a slower game, neither of which are friendly to mobile or their tag line “lightning fast matches”, this probably just is not feasible.

Would love if we could get some developer insight on this.


And to fix minions that just get cheesed by summoning them in a corner e.g. kelaino, heartseeker+ killing edge etc, what’s deemed to be uninteractive play styles can also be fixed with range limitation as a post by @ezekeel suggested. Although he suggested only range and blast minions, but I believe that things that has an effect without regard to.range should have a range limitation so that people can at least reach them with minions the next turn, rush keyword and dispels. Also with this, proposing range limitation to spells sounds more fair too.


I’ll start by saying I understand where you’re coming from. There are some powerful cards that threaten from afar. But far-off threats like Kelaino and Ki Beholder aren’t a problem in their own right. It’s just that there aren’t enough cards to deal with them.

If you’re looking to make the game more “interactive” whatever that means, limiting the range of spells is not as sweet as it sounds. Positioning would become more awkward than ever. Think about the cards that already force players to position themselves in specific ways (Holy Immolation, Makantor, Blast minions, Mist Dragon Seal and Juxtaposition, Avalanche for those who use it, the BBS Warbird, and Blink to an extent) There’s so much to play around as it is, and to create ranges for spells will only make positioning more awkward, to the point that the way you move is completely dictated by matchup. I don’t think it’s far-fetched to believe that players will go out of their way to avoid spells. No one will want to “interact” with certain cards if they don’t have to. It becomes a game of who can avoid threats the most, which is what this game can look like at times already.

Duelyst gave us a board for a reason. Players have the right to use it. Limiting the range of spells condenses the length of the board that is usable, almost as if those parts of the board are removed from the game. The board is what separates this game from others, like Hearthstone for example. If there’s a problem with “uninteractive” cards, we need an answer for the cards in question, not the concept that makes this game unique.


Y’know, I have a theory that CP actually can do something like this, but won’t because they:
a.) can’t do it because of limited game mechanics
b.) won’t do it because it’s easier to give spells infinite range
c.) enjoy watching their players suffer under frustrating circumstances
I’m not sure what’s the worst


There’s a precedent for this with the Zeal effect, but I like the idea of something like Keliano or Shadowdancer needing to be within a certain distance of the General to heal it, but not the Deathwatch effect. Still, there’s a fine line for where to implement these effects.

The crucial thing is, if we have softer “unanswerable” cards with limitations, and softer “answer” cards with restricted ranges, moving around the board will be a lot more valuable.

By contrast, I have to disagree with this bit - some cards should be distance threats to pull the board out, rather than always pushing together. But with harder unanswerable cards, you need harder answer cards, and then you’re taken too far in the other direction to the “answer or die” that people complain about.


As someone who’s first posted thread on this forum was on how most global spells were bad for the game, I can definitely see where you’re coming from. While I still would like to see the emphasis of the game move more to a minion based game and less of a spell based game, I’ve come to the conclusion after a few months of play that the spells are needed for now. The reason being the game is still pretty early in its evolution. There are really not that many archetypes (let alone viable decks in those archetypes) for a lot of things to be naturally countered. In more mature games (I’m thinking more of MTG than Hearthstone here), there are literally hundreds of viable decks composing dozens of archetypes and so the chance of one deck dominating them all is much slimmer (yes, even in MTG there have been occasional exceptions). In those games, it is more a question of “how many decks can my deck beat?” instead of “can my deck beat all others?”.

The reality of Duelyst is, there just aren’t enough cards to get the 40 gazillion level rock paper scissors match going. No one wants to play 1-2 level rock papers scissors. We just don’t. If they made Songhai counter all things Abbyssian which in turn countered all things Lyonar, that would be a boring game. Real fast. So, they’ve given us some global answers so that every faction can have SOME way of answering everything without needing to make a ton of different cards.

To really get to the point I think a lot of players want where the rock paper scissors scenarios get so intricate that they become less noticeable (ie. some Songhai counters some Abyssian), we simply need a lot more cards. But we’re making progress. As we’ve witnessed, they’ve already reduced the power of some of the factions’s spells (most notably Vetruvian). I expect this to continue as the game grows and evolves. A card game with a board can only help itself by making the board more and more relevant.


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