The Golden Chrysalis: Magmar faction discussion


Hey there, let’s talk about the direction of Magmar.

I’m compelled to talk about the current state of the game and what CP intends to do with it. It’s gotten fast. CP has made very clear that reaching 8-9 mana should be a rarity and should pertain crazy things, if Variax is to be taken as an example. Lightning fast isn’t just an adage anymore it’s actually the speed at which you can die on turn 4. They’ve given most factions that didn’t have massive burst that very thing and where before games could be stalled out due to lack of cards, every faction now has reliable ways to draw more cards (I believe Vanar is the only faction that doesn’t have massive card-draw now). The only inhibitor to all this burst is mana, never resources. They’ve tried to tone down the frustration of encountering a situation and having no answer, which is good. Still, Duelyst was never very good as reactive game, so if you’re doing that (i.e. answering) and not building your killing blow, you’re not doing well. Control is not really an option in this game. At 15 health you can see the sharks circling.
To summarize: How’s the state of the game? Very, very fast and bursty.

Now onto why we’re all here: Magmar (theory) discussion!
Right, first of all I’m not a great guy with balance and the most optimal decks. I don’t play enough to get to S-rank. I don’t even know I CAN get to S-rank (highest I’ve gotten through playing 4-8 games in a similar amount of days is Diamond 2, I think). So do not look to me for an explanation of the current Magmar position in S-rank or if Vaath is in the top three of best generals (my answer: He probably is?). What I’m here for, mostly, is the theory and evolution of the Magmar faction (or rather how I see it going and how I’d like to see it going.)

Vaath and Starhorn are still our only two options, of which one is left behind again. I’m of course talking about Va… Starhorn. Of course I’m talking about Starhorn. Vaath will always be a good general because there’s no need to build a deck around him. Vaath will always smash and with the addition of Drogon, Vaath will smash even more. Vaath was never a problem and I see almost no possible future where you wouldn’t want to play Vaath. His BBS is basic but ever useful.
Vaath is like a crocodile or a snake, a primordial creature that will always thrive and never really needs to change the way it works to thrive in whatever situation. Thriving, to CP, apparently means being able to burst you for 8-10 damage though.

Then there’s our problem-child: Starhorn, on whom I’ve recently jotted down some post-expansion thoughts. The main issue with him is that his BBS is one of the only ones with a downside. You do not want to pay to give your opponent cards generally. If you give them a lot of them that can be good to mill them, but just one every odd turn isn’t going to do much good.
Pre-expansion draw was very valuable and rare, so playing against Starhorn was just getting free cards. His BBS was made for swarm decks… which Magmar has almost no synergy with. There are not enough in-faction small minions to make it work. Yes there are a ton of battlepets and neutrals to make it viable, but that doesn’t make Starhorn fit in Magmar.
(copy-pasting from my previous post)
CP has chosen to solve the problem of Starhorn’s BBS’ downside by focusing this expansion on him. Or rather on card-draw. If every faction has reliable card-draw cards then drawing cards for the opponent isn’t that much of an issue. This still does not solve Starhorn’s issue, since they gave Magmar reliable card-draw as well. So why would you run Starhorn if Vaath can draw just as well? You don’t as is being proven.

Magmar still lacks the spammability needed to make this extra card-draw work properly, with only Rancour and a sub-par 3-drop being added for the early game to the faction that loves the 4-slot. There is no reason to run Starhorn for his extra card when Vaath’s is valuable all through the game and he can get cards as well.

That being said, Card-draw does seem to have found a niche in the Magmar faction: It is part of the self-harm archetype. Tectonic Spikes shows this, you hurt yourself to draw cards and those effects activate other mininos and effects (Twin Fang and rancour). Mark my words, we’ll see more cards for Magmar that function with harming your general that will function with a similar effect.

Unfortunately most of these cards only have card-draw as a peripheral effect in function of self-harm. If you play Tectonic Spikes to get Rancour or Twing Fang bigger, you don’t really care about the card-draw. The cards that do care about the card-draw directly: Visionar and Vindicator also only care about the card-draw in a peripheral way. They’re just a way to boost their stats. These mininos don’t utilize the extra cards you draw. Their growth could just as easily be activated by any other effect (such as for example, gaining stats whenever your general is hurt. Speculation on my end).

Magmar still has no real reason to have a general that focusses on card-draw. Their faction still has no reason to use card-draw as an effect besides it being just a medium to get certain effects that have nothing to do with card-draw. That they have been given Card-draw, which was one of their primary weaknesses is also very frustrating for the opponent. And where Sajj was given minions that support HER bbs with Starhorn it’s the other way around: Minions are given artificial card-draw scaling that can function decently without Starhorn’s BBS. This is both good and bad, good because this means that Starhorn and Vaath can use the same minions… Bad because why would you use Starhorn over Vaath if you can use Vaath whose BBS has no downside.

In conclusion: Starhorn is still one step behind Vaath because there’s still no reason for Magmar to have card-draw in any way. The card-draw scaling with minions is artificial and could be done any other/different way. Vaath can do it better with the new cards while having a useful BBS anyway. The one extra increase Starhorn gives is not going to help compared to the three given by tectonic spikes. Neither will it mill better compared to Vaath. The extra card for the opponent BBS will never be a benefit as long as it happens every 2-3 turns only.
There is also still no reason for Magmar, as a faction, to draw more cards for themselves. There is no incentive to swarm in-faction. There is no benefit to drawing more cards for minions, buffs, artefacts or spells aside from those on which it is artificial (Visionar and Vindicator). Unless something drastically changes in the faction, there never will. (for my previous post on this see here.)

I’d love to go into the various archtypes too a little later and how they’'re going to be catered to. Where the new crop of minions can be placed and what (I think) they herald for future development. That’ll be later though.

I conclude with the formal prayer of the Magmar: In the name of The Immortal, The Warbeast and The Holy Golden Chrysalis. :stuck_out_tongue:


I agree! The problem is that both generals bbs are not specific to the faction. Vaath bbs is strong regardless of other interactions, cards like drogon are just a nice options.
Starhorn bbs in the other hand is not that great. The solution? Making starhorn bbs more faction specific!!
For example ive already suggested in another thread:
Seeker lance
"deal 2 damage to a minion, the owner of that minion draw a card".
This means sinergy with:
Taygete , you damage her ti get aoe and a card
Amplification ,obvious
Twin fang , again
Dance of Dreams, for more draw
Vindicator , you damage an enemy minion and you pump vindi
Visionar, Same
Veteran silithar, you damage It to turn It in a egg that could be hatched and draw a card
Young silithar, same

PS: This change +wild inceptor as a 3 mana card would male eggmar so much better.

Thats my opinion:)


I just want to chime in that we have both discussions on a super late game card being too good as well as complaints about a format being too fast at the same time. These two topics do not mix together all that well as I see it. Maybe the spectrum is just well represented?

Anyways, I think starhorn is forever misunderstood. His ability is too strong if it was just the magmar player drawing the card. It is too weak if you share it. That remains true unless if you are able to make use of the extra card far more than your opponent is. For a combo deck with dance of dreams, starhorn is your man. If you are playing pet deck, then starhorn is the fuel that you need to keep the supply of cheap pets flowing.


I think your reasoning is flawed. It’s like saying “There’s nothing wrong with Atomic Bombs, because now that every other nation has them, no nation can use them because they’re too scared of the retaliation.” I feel it’s the same with super-bursty decks and super-strong finishers. Yes, they counter each other “nicely” and by that create a balance, but that balance isn’t the result of a diverse meta but of a rather polarized meta. If your only desire is a meta that isn’t dominated by a single bogeyman, then it’s a job well done, but if you crave an environment where many different archetypes can grow and prosper, then you might not be happy.

The Vaath deck that I’m currently laddering with loves drawing cards. It wants to draw all the cards. It uses all those cards to kill people. The more the merrier. The reason I want to draw cards is so I have more cards to kill people with. Why would you needed any more reasons? Also: killing people on the 4- or 5-Mana turn is fun. Probably not for them, but hey: Balance Patch is coming.

For once Makantor Warbeast isn’t the reason why people are complaining about Magmar. Even Gods need time off, it seems.


Your analogy doesn’t really work because the whole atomic bombs scenario is not at all similar to what we were talking about.

That said, if two decks counter each other and they vastly outperform the other decks in the meta, that’s when you would talk about a polarized meta of the deck to beat and the counter deck. That’s just not what is out there in the meta. In the field I see a lot of diversity in the decks that are being played. Both of these opposite archetypes are solid, but neither are dominating the meta in my experience at least. Both of these archetypes are also fairly well-known considering how vocal people are about them, so it’s not like these are under the radar either.


If a new player played against the average Magmar deck, that person would NEVER guess what in-faction abilities Magmar has (Grow and Rebirth, both of which aren’t prevalent today), so I think that’s a red flag that Magmar isn’t going in the proper direction.

Let’s face it: Starhorn needs a redesign. I appreciate trying to make the general work, and I suppose the general is strong now. But at what cost? The faction about lizards growing and being born from eggs has given way to this card-drawing hybrid with the ability to do face damage at ridiculous levels. If that’s what it takes to make Starhorn viable, I would rather have Starhorn removed from the game (or again, redesigned)

The worst part of it is how insane the card draw in the faction is. That’s what I liked about the game: having to manage your cards efficiently, and use them to out-value your opponent’s. That doesn’t apply to Magmar. The faction can play out nearly an entire hand for maybe 5 or 6 mana, then INSTANTLY refill on the following turn. It defeats the purpose of card advantage, a component of the game that held much more meaning before such ridiculous card-draw engines were introduced. And giving other factions insane card draw (I’m looking at you Trinity Oath) doesn’t remedy the issue. If anything, it gives players MORE of a reason to spam cards like Tectonic Spikes since your opponent is already capable of refilling their hand, so it ultimately equates to tempo loss and milling.
If the idea behind all of this card draw was to allow players to always have an answer to threats, I’ll say this: it sounds good on paper. In practice, from what I’ve experienced, it means that by the time you’ve answered one threat, your opponent has played out 3 more, and they won’t run out of cards because of how insane their card draw is, so this pattern will continue for the remainder of the game. What’s the point of answering threats if placing them is more efficient?
To summarize, Magmar isn’t representative of what it was designed to be about, eggs and growth. An unused general (Starhorn) was promoted to the point of being unhealthy for the game, and quite frankly, that general’s BBS is being forced. Magmar was my favorite faction until the expansion hit, and I hope to see the menace that is Green Songhai be restored to what it was before.


How I see Magmar

Starhorn- Burn, Card draw grow
Vaath- Drogon, Artifact one man army builds

Shared builds

Zoo,Grow, Self damage,Aggro, Rebirth.Rush.

The big problem is that Rebirth and Grow dont work.Starhorn is fine as they will keep adding minions/spells now that Starhorn has working identity.Control Magmar needs a look.


Starhorn BBS being forced while egg & grow decks aren’t even meme tier viable. Sad days indeed.


This! I Hope that they Will Nerf tectonic Spikes and gaze, right now they are broken AF


There is a sort of fall-of point to where drawing cards is useful. That point being 6 cards in hand.
But if drawing cards is so valuable, why not play Starhorn? He draws you cards.

I’m going to make an assumption and say that you don’t want to play him because drawing cards isn’t THAT useful. Further assumptions: Neither do you play Blazehound and Spelljammer. Because drawing cards is not your end-game and doesn’t help much reaching your end-game. (also the plural of anecdote is not data.)

But I’m talking about the Magmar faction in general, not your particular deck. With a faction that is heavily focused on 4-mana cards currently (unless you go out of faction), at what point do you play more than 2 cards a turn? Usually you don’t, especially not now that the game is going so much faster. The staple Magmar cards are 4 or more cost-wise: Elucidator, Makantor, Taygete, Plasma Storm, Egg Morph, Earth Sphere,… Most of the time you’re not going to be playing many (more than 1) other cards in the turn you play those.


Drawing cards is what makes hyper aggro decks possible.
Whithout tectonic Spikes the current aggro magmar wouldt exist. Just like was mana vortex for burst-hai, now its more balanced. And hyper aggro decks are cancer for duelyst imho.


This is literally the issue that the OP is talking about, the fact that magmar has three distinct archetypes yet none of them see play. Grow, Rebirth and Draw now they are trying for swarm obvi with thraex. Pretty sure your comment was troll or you just skipped reading the post after the first sentence. Anyway yeah draw requires a total rework because all other factions have archetypes that are used such as:

Vetruvian: Obelysk and Artifact.
Vanar: Wall and Vespyr.
Songhai: Backstab and Spellhai.
Lyonar: Healyonar.
Abyssian: Swarm/Deathwish and ShadowCreep.
Magmar: Aggro.

The thing about this game is that some generals can work somewhat if their factions were swapped such as Zirix, Vaath, Argeon and Reva. However these generals not counting Argeon and Vaath are irreplacable in there archetypes because the cards built around them are useful only with them driving it. Argeon and Vaath always have to go aggro or midrange because their bbs do not support any unique archetypes. This game would be 1000 times healthier if we faced various decks when it came to these generals, because seeing a rebirth deck would be awesome as compared to braindead aggro constantly. Now i know that zeal is an archetype that Cpg is trying for Argeon however this really isnt happening because as always people just run the two most efficient cards from it. Anyway i believe the damage effect of the new draw cards is the reason why they work better with vaath and dont support the draw minions. Also yeah why give vindicator and friends a grow effect instead of something fun like copying cards drawn or making the card cost more for your opponent? Actually make Magmar a fun faction to play as opposed to a faction people just use to rush laddering when its close to end of season.


Magmar is the only faction where none of their keywords or mechanics are viable. As much as I love rebirth and grow, they’re just too easily dealt with and do not have enough reward for such a fast-paced game. Shadowcreep especially counters rebirth in a way that makes having a deck centered around it essentially a shot in the foot, moreso even in the current meta.

I wouldn’t mind if there were a few more minions with these keywords added, in addition to some extra help (BBS that caters to one of these mechanics, better complimentary cards, improving the mechanics themselves, etc.)

That’s really all I gotta say about Magmar. Love the faction, but I honestly end up using mostly neutral minions in my deck.

Also, I don’t like the “benefit when opponent draws” mechanic. It doesn’t really fit the faction thematically and the benefits do not outweigh helping the opponent. Decimus cheese isn’t even fun. I wouldn’t complain if it was just removed, and all of the cards made for that concept be reworked.


If I play a deck that is built around vomiting my hand into play, then I will barely reach the 6-card-limit. And I don’t play Starhorn because Gaze and Spikes already give me enough reliable card draw.

It is that useful. But only because I also play cards that are useful. If my whole deck is made out of card draw, then yes, card draw isn’t doing me very much. I only need enough card draw to always have plenty of cards. Luckily I don’t need to run Blazehounds or Spelljammers for that.

Of course, drawing cards isn’t my win condition. But it’s what allows me to run all those greedy cards that would otherwise leave me empty handed after a couple of turns. So while abundant card draw isn’t my win condition, it’s what allows me to play towards my win condition.

I’m not arguing against your point that Starhorn is the weaker of the two Generals. I’m just saying that it might not be for the reason that you have given. Card draw is great. There’s just no point in playing Starhorn when Vaath can draw just as well while being better on offence.


I agree with your assesment, but again I’m talking about the Magmar faction in general. Or what they seemed to be designed towards/around. The faction itself does not really need card-draw if you look at the way it’s structured and where most of its iconic cards are placed mana-wise. That it was given card-draw makes Starhorn obsolete.

I’ll also quote the final part of the whole long thing, which echoes your assesment:

Starhorn is still one step behind Vaath because there’s still no reason for Magmar to have card-draw in any way. The card-draw scaling with minions is artificial and could be done any other/different way. Vaath can do it better with the new cards while having a useful BBS anyway. The one extra increase Starhorn gives is not going to help compared to the three given by tectonic spikes. Neither will it mill better compared to Vaath. The extra card for the opponent BBS will never be a benefit as long as it happens every 2-3 turns only.

In essence, Vaath does it better than starhorn. That’s why he’s in the dumps and why it was a mistake to give the faction card-draw when it doesn’t really need it. Because then the card-draw general is useless, his once unique selling point is no longer of any benefit.

Juxtaposition exists in songhai, which is similar to Kaleos’ BBS. Kaleos’ is much freer to use, yet even he was considered trash compared to Reva because his BBS was made obsolete by existing cards and a better, more unique alternative. Starhorn is in the same situation and will remain in the same situation unless they change his BBS or remove the card-draw from the faction. In my opinion of course.


Archetype support:
To my mind, Magmar has four different Archetypes from their core set for their design (that work):
Rush (which contains most of the burst as well), Self-Harm, Growth and Rebirth.

Rush didn’t really gain any new things this expansion. The only thing I’d maybe count as Rush support is Drogon and possibly Entropic Gaze (though I’d claim it’s supposed to be in Self-harm), who accelerates the face-rushing. Rush didn’t really need any support though, so that’s fine. Makantor is still in every deck, Elucidator still sees play and Thumping Wave is still amazing. Going face heavily is still something that happens frequently.

Currently Rush-focused decks are the most prevalent of all the decks. You’ll no doubt see more cards in this archetype in the upcoming expansions, since this is the direction CP seems to want to take Magmar.

No Grow support, though Grow is seemingly being phased out and quietly ignored for card-draw grow. (Vindicator, Visionar). If we count Card-draw Grow in this category (which we really should.) then we got quite a bit of support with Tectonic Spike and Entropic gaze. Still if this card-draw growing is the ‘new grow’ then they should have a similar thing for Kolos, Earthwalker and Grimrock. That and have moloki Huntress work with them as well.

No idea. I imagine the Grow concept has been quietly taken out back and shot since both Abyssian and Lyonar do it better (Growing through Shadowcreep/Deathwatch and healing respectively. )

No Rebirth support this expansion, unless you count Thraex buffing eggs with attack.
The push for faster games makes the rebirth cards provided in Shim’Zar even less worthwhile. Nobody is ever going to play Dreadnaught, who was already slow and unviable, now that the games are even faster. Young Silithar’s older brother is in the same predicament. Too slow.
Morin-Khur is still overcosted for what it does and the sole reason for that is Chrysalis Burst.

I’m of the opinion the chrysalis Burst needs to be reworked since it’s swingy nature inhibits the development of good Rebirth-support cards. Especially fairly costed hatching cars. Wild inceptor, for example, is trash because Chrysalis Burst exists. There will never be a low-costed minion with Dreadnaught’s effect because Chrysalis burst exists. Morin-Khur will etc…
You get the picture. I believe Rebirth support is severely inhibited by Chrysalis burst’s current design.

For Rebirth to be able to receive useful ‘hatching’ cards with a fair cost, Chrysalis Burst will have to be changed into something else. Otherwise it will be very difficult for Rebirth to not just be a worse forcefield.

We’ll also need more Rebirth minions of course, but that’s a given. The current crop isn’t quite enough, with only 1 or 2 being used (Rex and Young silithar) with the other …3(? Dreadnaught, Elder Silithar, Adult Silithar) being ignored.

There is a push for more Swarm with Thraex but there still aren’t enough in-faction low-drops to justify a swarm-buffer. What we need are viable in-faction low-drops.
Rex and Gro can benefit from Thraex, but do have the issue of being battlepets so not benefitting from the buff until the next turn. Neither of them need attack buffs though, Gro does this himself and Rex’ issue was never a lack of attack.
Phalanxar doesn’t really need more attack.
Rancour is in the same ballpark as Gro, she’ll get the attack on her own.
Vindicator is similar, you’ll buff him up in another way.
The only one who can really benefit is Young silithar and eggs. Though when that will be useful is anyone’s guess.
The only other use for the 1 attack buff is to be able to Natural Selection things when your own minions are too low, but that’s a very niche application.

Magmar generally does not have the numbers to make an every 2-turn buff like that useful. Sure razorskin was a thing, but mainly in Battlepet decks and it had the added benefit of drawing you a replacement card. Whereas you usually want to keep thraex in the back to keep his effect going.

Duelyst Patch 1.83 – Duelyst

Pretty much this. Spikes just stops Vaath from being value-starved; and that’s sortof what breaks Magmar atm. Vaath has already had the tools to play super greedy via Flash, Diretide, Fortitude, Rush guys etc. But spikes creates the situation where for minimal-no tempo loss, you simply get to gas up, and an opponent trying to outvalue you gets significantly less value. Their cards probably aren’t as greedy, and they probably have more of them gumming up their hand.

A bit of prognostication about the next balance patch.
*Probably going to be some time in February, while not unheard of- the designers probably want to push balance oriented patches back for a bit of time to observe the “ripple” effect, and spend more attention on the QoL changes the game has likely had in the oven for a while.

*Magmar and Abyssian are most likely to take the largest hits, with the possibility of Vanar also seeing some change to Concealing Shroud or Frigid Corona. Abyssian probably won’t get hit in an obvious way that the community expects or wants.

*Magmar’s suspect list is probably something like…

-Tectonic Spikes: The most likely to recieve an overall rework. Still see this being Vindicator/Visionar food on some level. Likely to be cited for the Decimus combo as the reason for changing.

-Drogon: Probably nothing more than a mana cost change, the card itself is innocuous, but the designers probably didn’t stress test how well it stacks with Cryptographer and Flash, likely to be changed on raw tempo efficiency, and thus cost-adjusted.

-Elucidator: If we are assuming that Tiger won’t be changed (since it has continuously broken almost every archetype in Duelyst’s history-) then Elu is likely on the suspect list (where it has likely been for a very long time.) Most likely to be changed into a beatstick instead of a Rush-guy.

-Entropic Gaze: I think this one is the least likely of these to change, but is probably given some attention sheerly on community outrage. While powerful, it provides an opportunity cost issue similar to Blaze Hound. The likely “fix” would be a reduction to the amount of damage it does.

*Cards unlikely to change/be suspect

-Makantor Warbeast: For pretty good reason. Nerf Makantor threads are as old as the reddit, but the Warbeast has become sortof staple to Magmar’s identity. The tools that combo with it are far more likely to be changed than the beast itself- and I think that’s a good thing.

-Crysalis Burst: The other side of the Makantor coin, an unhealthy card unlikely to change because of designer stubbornness. It isn’t the RNG, but the swing factor that makes this one a chronic target for salt threads.

-Rancour: Been on the end of a Rancour beating quite a few times this month. Still not convinced that it deserves as much salt as it has gotten.

-Saberspine Tiger: Honorable mention, mostly impacts Lyonar and Magmar; but this is another “designer stubbornness” situation. Tiger broke Vetruvian and Vanar at multiple points, and has arguably/nearly broken Argeon and Magmar too. Sortof an artifact of pre-BBS Duelyst, frequently over-enables Argeon and Vaath by wearing cheap buffs and getting massive face damage/clears. Likely to remain as is until Vet or Lyo get pushed too hard again.

-Overload and Seeker’s Eye: Are there 2 BBS so incompatible in the same faction, and so different in power level? While Misanthrope has made no less than 3 threads at this point to punch in his convlusion about Seeker’s Eye needing a change, I find that an overhaul to both of them should be considered- but a change to either of them is super unlikely. Overload pushes the game to be too reliant on dispels and SMorcing, and Seeker’s Eye doesn’t really work for anything but feeding Vindicators.


There is a very Simple way of nerfing Spikes and its “your opponent draw 3 cards and takes 3 damage”. In that way its still a strong card with vindicator/decimus/visionar but It dont replace itself and you Need to have this minions on the board to use it. This is imho what a good starhorn card should be.
Same with entropic gaze, you are paying only 2 mana to deal 4 damage face, why this card replace itself??


I’d rather play a card like “This card cost 3 Mana and does nothing.”


Looks like you dont read my commenti…with decimus and vindicator you have obvious sinergy.