The Buffing Project: Improving Unplayed Cards (WIP; Vetruvian updated)


I’ve been inspired by @gabriek’s fantastic topic on buffing one card per faction. Thus, I’ve created this topic to air-out more design ideas for improving unplayed cards in constructed (in order to support current constructed archetypes, or develop weaker ones).

As such, I’ll be chiseling away at each card until I’ve come to some level of satisfaction. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you all think of these proposed changes (i.e. have I gone overboard, or missed the mark entirely?). Also, feel free to share your own buff proposals as well!

Lastly, this topic is not open for philosophical debate of if/why bad cards are necessary, or a discussion of direct vs. indirect buff paradigms. Those can be entire topics in themselves. :sweat_smile:

Buffing Project 1.0: Lyonar, Songhai, Vetruvian RDs completed


Sky Burial: Cost 3 → 2

  • DoS introduced a lot of design redundancy, and this change would be an effort to better distinguish this card from Decimate (and Martyrdom, to a lesser extent).

Auryn Nexus: “Give a friendly minion +3 Health.” → “Give a friendly minion Zeal: Gains +5 Health.”

  • The suggested change would (1) Improve and open up design-space for Zeal synergies, (2) Improve health benefit to bolster the card seeing any play at all (but counter-balance via the dependence on Zeal), and (3) Give Zir’an more potential to benefit from her BBS.

Sunstone Templar: Cost 2 → 4; Stats (1/4) → (3/5)

  • As a 2-drop, this is plainly out-performed by Azurite Lion and Windblade Adept. Moving it to a different Cost/Stat bracket may allow its ability to shine.

Ironcliffe Heart: “Transform a friendly minion into an Ironcliffe Guardian.” → “At the end of your next turn, summon an Ironcliffe Guardian nearby your General.”

  • Again, DoS brought too much design redundancy, and this would be an effort to actually distinguish the card while reducing its drawback (4 mana + “sacrificing” a minion). Instead, here you pay 4 mana for an Ironcliffe Guardian that is effectively Stunned and not Airdropped. For Zoo/Tempo Lyonar, it fits much better than a regular Ironcliffe Guardian (thus hopefully bolstering/better defining the archetype).


Artifact Defiler: “Destroy all artifacts on the enemy General.” → “Destroy all enemy artifacts. Draw a card for each artifact destroyed” OR “Destroy an enemy artifact. Draw a card for each of its durability.”

  • This sees (and has seen) no play, as multiple artifact usage is virtually nonexistent. Adding a card draw element would encourage its use above Rust Crawler, and could therefore turn it into an interesting tech card in an artifact-heavy meta.

Saberspine Seal: TBD →

  • The nerf has left this card extremely redundant, as it simply acts as a strictly more restrictive (i.e. worse) Phoenix Fire now. That said, I struggle to see an obvious buffing route without reworking the card entirely. I’ll come back to this one later.

Jade Monk: TBD →

  • Significant design redundancy with Battle Pando. I think this would require a similar rework. I’ll come back to it later.

Storm Kage: TBD →

Ace: Add “Cannot move.” OR “Can only move one space.”

  • A rather obvious and prevalent suggestion. I don’t see the drawback of at least testing this buff amongst a faction minion that sees no play. Non-or-limited movement also feels flavorful due to the whole :turtle: thing. :smile:

Sworn Sister Alkyone: “Spells you cast that deal damage deal +1 damage.” → “Whenever one of your spells deals damage, add a Mana Vortex to your action bar.”

  • Another issue of DoS’s design redundancy: Crescent Spear simply eclipses this card. Thus, a rework entirely. Given Mana Vortex’s heavy nerf, why not now integrate it via ‘two birds, one stone’?
  • Now that I think about it, I might like Mist Walking even more as the generated card (further bolstering Spellhai/Controlhai playstyles).

Mist Walking: “Teleport your General up to 2 spaces.” → “Teleport your General up to 3 spaces. Lower your General’s attack to 0 until the start of your next turn.”

  • Gives Controlhai/Spellhai a more effective escape tool (+ supporting spell synergies) while also counter-balancing concerns of Mask of Shadows abuse.

Mask of Shadows: “Your General gains Backstab (4).” → “Whenever a friendly minion with Backstab deals damage, draw a card.”; Cost 2 → 4

  • This card has seen no play since the nerfs to both it and Mist Walking. In all honesty, I think the fundamental concept behind the design is flawed. The ability to set-up a Backstab situation for your own General is both very rare and risky (as the artifact will likely be gone by next turn if you’re right next to the enemy General and their minions). Given the high risk and rarity of the situation, the pay-off needs to be incredibly high, which it is not. However, if you make the reward too high, then you lend gameplay to highly polar, non-interactive outcomes. Thus, I would argue for a rework entirely.
  • That said, I’m very uncertain of the suggested change. I wanted to go the angle of bolstering the BackstabHai archetype, but I’m not sure if this would be the way to go about it (especially the cost). I’ll revisit it later.


Siphon Energy: Cost 0 → 1; “Dispel an enemy minion nearby your General” → “Dispel an enemy minion nearby your General. Draw a card.”

  • The nerf, while better aligning with Vetruvian’s proximity theme, has butchered this card’s playability. To improve its playability, while maintaining the theme, why not integrate Vetruvian’s tried-and-true card draw? It certainly still pales in comparison to Emerald Shroud (or even Rae), but it would at least be a step in the right direction.

Orb Weaver: “Opening Gambit: Summon a copy of this minion on a nearby space.” → “Opening Gambit: Give nearby friendly minions Forcefield.”; Cost 3 → 5; Stats (2/2) → (4/5)

  • With Pax, this is another victim of DoS’s design redundancy. The proposed change is honestly just a shot in the dark. Many things could be tried, but overall the redundancy needs to be addressed.
  • Other possibilities:
  • Opening Gambit: Cast Sand Trap on an enemy minion.
  • While this minion is on the battlefield, all enemies may only move 1 space.
  • Dying Wish: Draw a random artifact from your deck.
  • Opening Gambit: Equip a random artifact from your action bar.

Mirage Master: Cost 4 → 3; “Opening Gambit: This minion transforms into a copy of an enemy minion.” → “Opening Gambit: This minion transforms into a copy of an enemy minion and takes double damage.”

  • This minion sees so little play that I forgot about its existence. Why not drop the cost and commit to the ‘illusion’ flavor?
  • Another possibility would be something akin to Faceless Shambler, though I would have no idea how to word that.

Sand Sister Saon: “Your General has +1 Attack.” → “Costs 1 less for each artifact you have equipped this game.” Stats (3/4) → (3/5)

  • +1 Attack is so incredibly underwhelming (+ pitiful stats), especially in comparison to the other Sisters. The proposed change is subject to heavy revision. I just wanted to get something on the table.

Corpse Combustion: TBD →

  • This is one of those gray areas in which the card, without direct buffs, can become completely viable if CPG prints more high-quality Dying Wish minions. Otherwise, this would need a reworking. I’ll come back to this.

Fountain of Youth: Cost 2 → 8; “Restore all friendly minions to full Health.” → “Restore your General to full Health.”

  • I admit, this one is extreme. I toyed with much more benign buffs like the tried-and-true “Draw a card”, but it still felt too redundant with Inner Oasis. Thus, why not give Control Sajj some sort of late-game insurance? At 8 mana, I’m not even sure this would see play due to the supreme
    tempo loss.

Time Maelstrom: Cost 3 → 2

  • A simple and straightforward push. Why not throw Artifact/Combo Vet a bone?
  • Other interesting & flavorful rework considerations (focusing on time mechanics):
  • “Return ALL minions to their action bars.”
  • “Return ANY minion to its action bar. It costs ‘X’ less.”
  • “Destroy all mana crystals for BOTH players.”
  • “Destroy an enemy mana crystal. Draw a card.”

Scion’s Third Wish: “Give a friendly Dervish minion +3/+3 and Flying.” → “Give a friendly minion +3/+3 and Flying.”

  • The Dervish restriction isn’t seen on either of the other two wishes, so having this be the odd-one-out is strange from both a flavor and design perspective. Removing this strange restriction may prove enough to support a Zoo/Buff Vet. On the other hand, it may be too good?

Sand Howler: Cost 3 → 6; Stats (3/3) → (5/8)

  • The 3-mana slot is simply too crowded with Obelisks, Falcius, Wildfire Ankh, Zephyr, etc. Movement to higher cost/stat bracket may help it shine. However, I’m not entirely satisfied with the cost/stats. May come back to this later.

Abyssian (WIP)

Dark Seed: TBD →

Blood Siren: TBD →

Night Fiend: TBD →

Blood Barronette: TBD →

Arcane Devourer: TBD →

Shadow Nova: TBD →

Inkhorn Gaze: TBD →

Echoing Shriek: TBD →

Wraithling Fury: TBD →

Magmar (WIP)

Tremor: TBD →

Veteran Silithar: TBD →

Wild Inceptor: TBD →

Visonar: TBD →

Mind Steal: TBD →

Dreadnought: TBD →

Flaming Stampede: TBD →

Vanar (WIP)

Mesmerize: TBD →

Winter Blade: TBD →

Boundless Courage: TBD →

Lightning Blitz: TBD →

Huldra: TBD →

Wind Sister Maia: TBD →


I’ll definitely be adding to this! Liked, Bookmarked, Watched. Love me some threads like these.

Will make actual substantive contribution(s) when I’m more awake.


Think I’d go crazy be reading all the suggestions people are going to give. Knowing the community they’re going to be either totally out of place or would make a card completely unbalanced. 10% of the decent people at these forums might have some good ideas but good luck filtering those out.

Anyway, it does seem like a very interesting thread that is going to provide lots of fun for plenty of people, so I guess that’s all that matters. It’s not like anything other than fun is going to come out of it anyway. It’s also a good idea to have it all condensed in one place.


Auryn Nexus can’t be strong because of Divine Bond and as a health buff it provides no immediate benefit so it is always removed or played around. It really deserves a buff.

Your suggestion to give it zeal is a problem though. It adds +5/5 with divine bond for just 1 mana, it’s incredibly aggressive. The design is also very inconvenient and unpleasant to use, you can’t move much or your minion dies so your opponent can easily play around it.

I would rather see something like this:
2 cost; "Give a minion +4 health and Dying Wish: Draw a card."
1 cost; "Steal 2 health from a nearby minion."
1 cost; “Give a minion +3 health, if it is a Battle Pet give it +2 attack.”


Kinda worries me about ur ideas when ur first 2 full faction ideas are for songhai and Lynor. So already HUGE flags were waved so let’s see these SONGHAI BALANCES…

I was gonna make a remark for each card but it seems you LOVE CARD DRAW and of course to balance it all out get a few free mana vortex as well. The reason songhai can’t have cheap card draw is they way to much damage and combo 2 well. There was no down side no real thought when you dumped ur hand with old mana vortex. To top all this off you want a ranged battle put to not move. Like you Need any more annoying range to buff but now another cheap one… Imo u have a huge bias for songhai that makes card balances hard and dangerous.



First of all though, I have decks with all the cards so far, except very few, like Ace (though I did have a deck with Aces once). But ok, I am weird like that.
That said, some of these changes may well ruin decks of mine that work pretty well and are very unconventional, which would be sad as they reduce deck variety, but ok, let’s theorycraft away!

I hope you don’t mind me giving my opinion on the cards that are there so far.


SB: sure, it’s actually pretty good as is imo, but the change doesn’t make it OP I feel.

AN: I honestly think this card is pretty good, and I do run it in some decks, and this would feel like a sideways change, not a real buff, since it also nerfs it for some situations.

ST: This proposed change would be a nerf imo, I run this in my good Healing Zir’An deck and it’s a very nice opener. It really makes things awkward for the opponent, and 4 health is very nice, and 1 attack is all it needs. This would make it worse imo, also since it then competes with all the other 4-drops.

IH: Now you removed the possibility to immediately attack, which paired with a Divine Bond makes a wounded Sunstone Templar deal 13 face damage that turn (unless I am mistaken and it’s always exhausted, unlike Aspect of the Mountains etc, it’s been a while since I played with it). Dunno why this card needs a change like that. Honestly kind of feels like a nerf as well, since the effect is delayed.


AD: That’s a nice idea, but seems OP, I’d make it: “destroy all artifacts, draw one card if an artifact was destroyed”. The thing here is that the faction already has easy answers to artifacts, so I’d rather make it a good card for the one deck that decides to run it and forego the traditional answers. If the faction doesn’t need you basically have to make a different good card with this as a side-effect in order for it to see play, which seems a bad goal to set imo.

SS: 2 mana, your general gains 3 attack this turn, if your general kills a minion this turn, draw a card. Meh I don’t know either. Tbh it’s not that bad currently, maybe 1 mana and only works on generals? Or 0 mana?

JM: Not a bad card at all. Sure, there’s Battle Panddo, but how often isn’t there just 1 enemy 5-health minion, like Kelaino, or a Spelljammer alive? This card kills any 5-health minion if it’s the only one. I had nice stuff happen with deathstrike seals on it etc. If you want to rework while keeping it’s gimmick intact, maybe: all damage dealt to this minion is dealt to a random enemy minion as well?

SK: actually hardly any experience with this, I should make a deck around it, thanks for the reminder :slight_smile:

Ace: Yeah, that would be kind of nice, though it would still suck compared to a heartseeker which is 1 mana for a 1/1 ranged non-battle-pet which is also hardly seen in decks, so… maybe make it 3/1 in addition to it not moving?

SSA: Nice as is, and part of a theme deck of mine which is quite good actually. Yes Crescent Spear is better, but its body is nice and you want to have 2 Crescent Spears and 2 Alkyone’s in play :smiley:Wouldn’t change it too much, maybe buff it’s stats a tiny bit if you feel it’s really needed?

MW: yeah, nice, I like this!

MoS: Too much of a change imo, this card is a very nasty surprise, and I like it in that role. The change you propose changes that role.
What about: your backstab minions now backstab from both directions? Or, actually my preference: Your general cannot be retaliated against.

I miss Neutrals btw… Astral Crusader!

Kudos for the thread idea and effort, nice!


Lightning Blitz: “Reactivate all friendly minions.” or “All friendly characters can move up to 3 spaces this turn” Think the original design is quite nice flavour wise but needs to be more impactful so reactivating your minions or letting them move further could be the way to do it. However, I’m not sure what the new mana cost should be, so need someone else’s input for that.

Wind Sister Maia: Change stats from 4/5 to 3/3. “Whenever you summon a minion, give it Infiltrate +1/1” Something to try and push the Infiltrate mechanic further and reward players who are able to contain the opponent to their own side of the board. While weakening the body otherwise at 5 health it might be too good/hard to remove and since its giving stats to other minions it shouldn’t need at much attack since its going more of a support card rather than an aggressive or controlling one.

Winterblade: “The turn when it is equipped, stun all nearby enemy minions (or maybe just 1 nearby enemy), your general gains +3 attack” Staying at 4 mana should be fair since its +1 mana on Snowpiercer for the same attack but adding on an instant stun ability with it.


So the Magmar stuff

Tremor 1 mana

Wild Inceptor- 3 mana

Veteran Silthar 4/4

Visionar-fine but stats could be slightly adjusted

Mind Steal-fine

Flaming Stampede-Probably fine but lower cost would make it better


Hi there,

Please take what i’m about to say in a good way.

Some suggestions are ok, like Ace, but you seem to misinterpret what is deckbuilding in TCGs in general.

Basically, you’ll want:

a win condition which is a card or group of cards that when played together, will ensure the match for you.
Those combos, that deal nasty damage, that giant obliterate and stuff. Most of the deck will be cards that go towards this. This is the magic, this is the bulk, that play when you draw correctly there is nothing your opponent can do to defend themselves.

Second you’ll need some form of control, to prevent the enemy to have this win condition.
When playing against vet you’ll want to keep those dispels handy for the aymara, while also keeping the obelysks in check, removal goes here.

By this logic any card that provides both of these is a great card, right? Yes.

But there is also another factor, the deck has a minimum card limit, and max copies limit. While the latter seem obvious, otherwise we would all run a deck of 40 helm of the mechaz0r to ensure the win condition is met every single time on turn 2, the minimum card limit (which is also the max in duelyst) also ensures that your deck does not rely on a single combo to win.

Imagine what would happen if I could run a deck of 3 kujatas, 3 helms, 3 cannons and 3 swords, 16 cards total and the odds of summoning mechaz0r turn 2 would be next to 100%.

This brings another part of deckbuilding i didn’t mention before, which is thinning. The biggest flaw in your designs here is Siphon Energy. It thins your deck AND silences all for FREE.
This card would be the most broken card ever seen on duelyst to date.
It basically shrinks your deck from 40 to 37 cards, since it cycles itself for free, the silencing would be a mere convenience since you could just target any enemy minion. Even if the draw was only in the condition it succefully dispelled an effect it would be still MAD good.

This would make vetruvian deckbuilders only have to worry about 37 cards, almost 10% less than the rest since there is no reason whatsoever to not run a free cycling dispel

First wish isn’t very good because of the buff, it’s good because of the 1 mana draw.

this goes for all draw effects you’re suggesting.


[details=nicon]@nicon I don’t quite understand your reasoning. It’s already “combo-able” with Divine Bond. This buff would increase that “combo” by +2 damage (while also restricting its proximity via Zeal). Is this really such a fine line? :confused:

Again, I think the increased health buff would help increase the card’s general viability while also giving a specific boost to Zir’an’s BBS usage. Also, your suggestions break faction themes and I’m not touching Battle Pet synergy with a 10 ft. stick.[/details]

[details=persona0]@persona0 This entire thread is for fun, no need to get your hackles raised :sweat_smile: . By comedic twist, Songhai and Lyonar are actually my two least favorite and least played factions (and I chose them only due to their ordering in the collection tab). To be honest, I may be biased towards buffing them so that they may actually be interesting for me to play.

I don’t understand your objection to the Alkyone buff, as it’s only triggered off of spells that do damage.

The buff to Ace would hardly have any impact on constructed, as the Battle Pet AI is extremely easy to play around. Gauntlet on the other hand could get interesting.


@kirabi I agree with a lot of those, though I’m thinking of reworking Tremor and Mind Steal completely.


I appreciate the lengthy response, but I unfortunately have to say that it was an honest mistake. I meant to increase the cost from 0 → 1 precisely due to the cycling potential. My apologies!

In regards to the 2nd half of your response: that’s exactly the kind of discussion I want to avoid in this topic. I obviously do not align with that idea, as I wouldn’t create a topic like this if I did. However, I certainly be open to discussing that idea further via PMs or a separate topic. :smile:


Well, i see, i guess i forgot about that in your post, i’ll be editing out since it doesn’t concern the topic.

Let’s just agree that we disagree but i would be honestly fine either way


Look at the other zeal cards, there isn’t a single one that increases health, I’m sure that’s intentional, I would find it very annoying & awkward. It would be very troublesome for players to lose a buffed minion to nothing because of a literal misstep.

I also think that if it gives +5 health it could become overpowered in competitive aggro decks, there is a very big difference from +3/3 to +5/5. Other factions spend 3 mana to get +5 attack, Divine Bond is a significant factor when balancing Lyonar. Your opponent plays a 3/5 provoke, turn 2 he plays 2x Auryn and a Divine Bond, now he has a 18/15 minion.

I don’t think they do, we can’t expect zeal on every lyonar card, some are going to have nuetral or unique abilities. Card draw & Battle pets are in every faction. Lyonar can take & give stats, though stealing health has no precedent. Lyonar doesn’t have Dying Wish so that’s up for debate, but it’s a neutral multi-faction ability & it isn’t anything new for lyonar decks.


Omg a million yes!!! This would be so much fun to incorporate into decks. Also, it’d be nice to use my sisters :cry: I also agree with the Mask of Shadows rework idea, I think that’d make a lot more sense than how it is now.


Well never mind them I guess I’ll just makes so buffs my self then.

Your right ace shouldn’t move but to better buff him have him deal 2 damage per enemy turn.

Artifact defiler should destroy all artifacts and all to to draw three cards but have to discard 2 of them. This would lend better to lore and make this card more playable.

Sworn sister alkyone I agree but it doesn’t seem enough I would also say deal 1 damage to your general for each mana vortex played… Now that’s a buff

Mist walking discard x cards move ur general that many spaces add that much attack to your general.
Perfect for back stab general finishes and just overall a buff to the card.

I think I solved the problem with masks of shadows with mist Walker but I think he deserves a little balance like say everything your general backstabs deal 3 damage to a random enemy if it dies deal three to their general also. Insane damage potential board advantage becomes a negative.

For my first run this is fun… Gotta buff Lynor up


I like idea of balancing unplayed cards, there are too much of them. Also, I think you should create bookmark for neutral cards.

My improves for worst faction cards IMO

Boundless Courage:
i like design of this card and this card needs some love : give a friendly minion 3 attack. It takes no damage this turn. Maybe itsn’t enough, but now this card is more than trash

Fountain of Youth
as is + draw a card.
it can give little improvement for this card, but also maybe itsn’t enough too.


People for some reason like to exaggerate, those cards are not unplayed. I play with them, and they’re not half as bad as people think 80% of the time.

Case in point: Boundless Courage: really really powerful and good card. No change necessary.

Fountain of Youth, yes, could definitely use a buff. Cycling seems fine imo.


How about neutral cards?
I’d like to see Archon Spellbinder a 5 Mana 6/6 - to be playable (again) in the nowadays faster Metas.
Just an idea.


:smiley: Some men just want to see the world burn, I hope I’m not one of them!


Here is my vet thread from right after the siphon nerf. If these changes fancy you, please feel free to use them!


Vetruvian has been updated! Given the looming threat of Finals week, many of the proposed buffs were quickly thrown together, so I haven’t quite analyzed them enough. After this week, I’ll go through revisions and then move onward to Abyssian. :slight_smile:

@locoblutaxt I may consider it depending on my poor time-management skills, as Neutrals would be an enormous undertaking. We’ll see!


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