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The must craft Neutrals cards for the new player in Duelyst

         **_The "must" craft Neutrals cards for the new player in Duelyst_**

So I have noticed a lack of certain types of content for Duelyst. And the lightbulb has finally clicked that instead of me waiting around for other people to create this content.Let me go ahead and create it myself. So what was the hold up for me creating this content ? Well they are people more qualified to do this who have a better understanding the game and they are better players than myself. Also they are people who are better writers and have way way better grammar than me. I hope they are get inspired when they see these mini articles to step up maybe create some content of their own. Until then you get to enjoy the journey of average player learning these deeper card game concepts and trying to translate it to duelyst.These mini articles are going to show up eventually on my duelyst blog that i will eventually finish one of these days.

Today’s topic isn’t anything really deep but it is probably one of the most common questions in Duelyst. What do I craft first as new player and it is slightly complicated because the answer changes with the metagame. When new players start this game especially the ones who come from other card games they see the orange orb in the middle cards and expect similar things as legends in other cards. And the truth is in the middle they are some strong legends in this game but you will come to find Duelyst decks aren’t dependant on legends as other games.Anyways here are the The “must” craft neutrals cards for the new player in Duelyst

Spelljammer- From time to time you will see a newer player say these words.“Duelyst is pay to win or Duelyst is too expensive to get into”.Those words are a red flag to me. They point to person who hasn’t played Duelyst enough to understand it. They are about 43 neutral legendary cards in the game while some them are usable Keeper of Vale, Magesworn, Trinity Wing,Decimus,Silver,etc. The only neutral legendary card you can truly consider a staple and show up in multiple decks and that card is SpellJammer. For all intents and purposes you can ignore every other neutral legend in the game.

Why Spelljammer is good?- The Duelyst devs are cautious in making any card that gives card advantage. So most draw cards in the game are either cantrips or symetrical draw.Spelljammer is no exception but thing is about Spelljammer you draw cards first.Which leaves a small dilema for the opponent at times. Leave the Spelljammer alive to draw cards for themselves or get this 3/5 off of the board.3/5 is significant enough body that you want to remove it Also Spelljammer is a great card for decks that don’t care about giving the other players cards like Aggro decks.

*Special note While this piece is about “must crafts” they are factional legends that would have higher priority to craft than Spelljammer. Also They are many epic,commons and rares that I would craft before Spelljammer. Before you go spending the 2700 spirit to craft 3 Spelljammers they are better investment you can do.Now when you get around to hey I am comfortable which neutral legend should I craft first then Spelljammer is on top of the list.

Thunderhorn This card needs no introduction if you have been playing Duelyst lately you will have come across it.This card was in almost every deck at the beginning of the meta.Then it was slowly weed out until only the decks that could truly utilize T-horn well use him but then the nerfs to Magmar came and game became more mid range focused and T-horn is arguably the one of the best mid range cards in the game.

Why is Thunderhorn Good? Take great aoe and stick it into a 4/5 body you and get one of the most useful minions in the game that can be played for it utility or just a solid body. Also Thunderhorn has innate synergy with many positional stuff in the game for example playing around Thunderhorn makes you play in stuff like Decimate and Lost in the Desert.

EMP Hearthstone has Deathwing, Shadowverse has Bahumut,Duelyst has EMP.Okay that comparison is very much a reach but EMP feels just as bad at times and leaves that Big WTF body. EMP is one the card in Duelyst that pops out from decks you never expect it to be in like Wall Vanar or Artifact Sajj and somehow it never feels like a bad play.

Why is EMP good? Think about everything fun you can do in Duelyst dealing with the board.Well EMP craps on almost everyone of those things and destroys artifacts to boot. Oh yeah it also has ridiculous 9/9 body.

Cryptographer If I got to vote for the best designed card in Duelyst then Cryptographer would be close to the top for me. When they added bbs to the game to me the bbs really didn’t feel fully fleshed out until Crypto was a card added in the game. It is one of the cards I hope gets moved to core set one day.

Why is Cryptographer good? It weaponizes your bbs for example The Magmar general Vaath with cryptographer + bbs and then normal bbs goes to 4 and becomes something you don’t want to trade with it. The Vanar General Faie bbs spell becomes Artillery basically and is part of the win con . Squeeze out an extra bbs can be huge

Last note of course this piece is opinion based everyone might have slightly different opinion what should be crafted first but I am fairly confident that these 4 minions are good place for new players to start their collection right now. Since piece is aimed at helping new players I am taking feedback for cards and I will add them piece if there is sound reasoning.

Special mentions

Commons: Azure Herald, Replicant, Skorn,Dancing Blades,Primus Fist, Shiro Puppy dragon,Red Steel minos

Rares: Lightbender, Sunsteel, Blue Conjurer,Owlbeast Sage, Zyx, Flameblood Warlock, Golem Metallurgist, Sojourner

Epics: Dioltas, Blood Bound Mentor



just to note, blistering skorn, sunsteel defender and dioltas are rotating out soon, so i wouldn’t reccomend crafting them. Skorn is probably fine to get as it is only a common, but the others are likely not worth it.


I agree with Improbableblob’s assessment. But it is a great guide and I add it to the wiki! https://duelyst.gamepedia.com/Guides#Deckbuilding

Am I the only one for whom the Spelljammer image is not working?

Fine by me :confused:  

I disagree with everything on this list. You are suggesting high rarity cards to new players. This is not something a new player can afford without a heavy investment in the game of time or money.

The core neutrals to craft first are:

  • Primus Fist
  • Dancing Blades

Both are excellent in their mana slot in all factions and generals. They enhance your own army or deal with the opposing army in a cheap and efficient way because you also get a great body with it and the card pays off instantly.

The ones listed above are not useful to each faction. Thunderhorn is good in 3 of the factions (vet, songhai and vanar) because it combines well with other cards in those factions. Some of those are again of higher rarity or will be deleted from the game soon. Cryptographer is good in a select couple of generals like Lilithe.

Of the two that are fine in every general, only EMP is really something to look for as one of the first rares to craft. The spelljammer is vastly overrated in many decks out there. This guy gets played in decks where it does not belong, i.e. slow decks that are built out of combinations of cards that work well together. The deck where it works well in is purely the very low curve aggressive decks because those decks leverage the card advantage much more than most of their opponents. And even there, a blaze hound is often just better due to its lower cost. The gap between 3 and 4 mana is very large in this game because one of the two is playable in the first turn as player 2.

On the topic of thunderhorn, I think a more budget-friendly version of this card is wild tahr. It works well with many of the same cards that thunderhorn works well with, and it presents an incentive for the opponent to spread his units out.


I agree with @rebound, in that I disagree with the list, although not all of it. If I were to recommend neutrals to a new player, I certainly would not add legendaries or epics to the list because of the cost of crafting them can get you more solid commons and rares for the same price. Basic, commons and rares are pretty much the backbone of most decks while epics and legendaries add the flavour to the deck which often helps make it unique.

For common neutrals I would suggest:

  • Wild Tahr. Its a solid 3 cost minion that can trade 2 for 1 or trade up against players who misplay. While against other new players it can cause them to lose more health then they wanted because if they try trading using the general first they’ll lose 5 health. Plus it can bring out removal from the opponent.

  • Dancing Blades. The OG is solid, it provides tempo and the body is good at a 4/6.

For neutrals rares I would go for:

  • Sojourner. Usually good for drawing a card or 2, is good in combination with buffs, if the opponent has to trade using minions/general you get card draw.

  • Lightbender. Although I don’t personally value dispel, other people do and it does have its uses. It can help remove threatening effects on multiple minions, when newer players may not have other removal options yet. While it can help get you through the mid game, if you want to reach the late game.

  • EMP. The late game nuke of returning a board to a more equal state. Has a big body at 9/9, can removal artifacts, dispel minions just need to be careful in that it affects your own side as well.

There are other cards as well that could be added to the list. But I feel like those 5 could be added to most new players decks and add something to the deck. While other cards not on the list I made, don’t add as much or are bit more specialised, and not necessarily fit into the majority of decks. While Epics and Legendaries cost too much to recommend to new players straight away, when they can add cheaper and solid additions with commons and rares.

As a side note could also recommend Owlbeast and Blue Conjurer as crafts for more spell orientated decks, but I doubt new players would be going that route at the start of them playing the game.

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I have to disagree on the choice of Primus Fist and Dancing Blades. While they are very budget friendly and can be crafted first I strongly recommend to craft Thunderhorn first. The gold gained from the first quests and singleplayer challenges can easily be converted to the 1050 spirit.

Why? Because I recommend for new players to have a piece of OPness in their hands as soon as they start. Players without triple epics will complain very soon how much pay to win the game is. Having taken an investment like Thorn makes you a part of it and maybe allows to see through the system. They will see what happens if a player doesn’t react correctly to their massive threat.

This won’t likely happen when they keep on the “not so op” budget side of the table for a while. The likelyhood of rageinducing losses could be greatly deminished. At the same time this gives an opportunity to give them a nudge for their first big disenchanting cleanup.

Also Thunderhorn has very budget friendly combo pieces right now:
Kinematic Projection
Aspect of Shim’zar
Demonic Lure
Repulsor Beast
Assassination Protocol

This means you get a lot of options to build a deck with Thorn early and only Lyonar (Roar/Magnetize) and Magmar (Thumping Wave, Greater Fortitude) are somewhat excluded from using it really efficiently.


For the prize of one Thunderhorn, you can get a full set of 2-drop commons for any deck (almost 9). If you’d really want to assess whether a complete beginner should craft it, you should compare Thunderhorn to something like Primus Fist, Azure Herald, Cryptographer, Blaze Hound, Wild Tahr and Dancing Blades together. And that’s only about two Thunderhorns for 3 of each.

My Thoughts on some of the responses

  • Not every “New player” is a free to player who has nothing to work with and has to scrape together budget cards. So the list isn’t cater to that thinking.The list catered to this when i craft these cards will i ever want to disenchant them to craft something else and will they always have a spot in my decks.

  • I put disclaimer on Spelljammer but after faction legendaries it is probably first (maybe only) neutral legend worth crafting

  • The best way of putting it these cards are some of best long term investments. In future because this will be an active thing I won’t name this must craft for new players but “best long term investment cards”.

-A version of this will come for each faction it will make more sense together with that.

Explanation for not including some stuff

  • Dancing Blades almost made it but D blades is played any competitive deck but it is probably most solid minion in the game.Wild tahr basically the same exact thing.

  • Skorn ,Dioltas and Sunsteel are being rotated out. But Skorn and Sunsteel regularly show up in competitive decks would have made it otherwise.

  • Lightbender comes in and goes out of favor with meta. It was a really close choice but list is only four cards for a reason and honestly it should be 3 because cryptographer is useful in some of the generals but its versatility and cost let me add it without worrying.

  • Blue Conjurer normally doesn’t get used outside of arcanyst decks but its solid body and the fact you can big value from it makes it really close.Owlbeast Sage and Golem Metallurgist are center pieces of Golem and Arcanyst decks.They are used in alot of competitive decks they didn’t feel flexible enough for me to add them.

What I am going to elevate based on feedback

Common 2s- Primus Fist, Replicant, Shiro puppy Dragon, Azure Herald.Their cheap cost combine with them being played in competitive decks.Make these cards good long term investments.

I would like more feedback on Sojourner and Blood bound mentor.

So when I think “must-craft neutrals for new players” I think “low-spirit-cost cards that have massive impact on the quality of your newbie deck”, and when I think that, there are only two cards that come to mind: dancing blades and EMP.

Dancing blades should be the first card everyone crafts. It’s a really solid body with a great upside that can solve all kinds of math problems while leaving one of your own for the opponent to cogitate on, and any card that can do that is worth looking at.

EMP should be the second card everyone crafts. As I’ve said before, a get-out-of-jail free card stapled to a massive threat. It doesn’t solve every problem in the game, but it solves a lot.

Every trash-tier I-just-started-playing newbie deck becomes immensely more powerful by getting these two cards as three-ofs.

As for the other cards you mentioned, cryptographers can easily be an improvement to a newbie deck, but I wouldn’t call them must-craft, and thunderhorns and spelljammers are good at what they do but newbies shouldn’t even think about crafting epics or legendaries until every faction they want to play has full sets of all relevant commons and rares.

And there’s my two cents.

Edit: Even though they’re rotating out soonish, after the EMP’s make sunsteel defenders, who will teach newbies some harsh lessons about how forcefield works. Thank @calebtenrou for this edit.

The problem with recommending a higher rarity card as the first thing to craft for a beginner is that your deck will need to contain 39 cards. If you spend everything on three thunderhorns, as you suggested, then you’ll have a deck full of basic cards and three thunderhorns.

My thoughts on the matter are that a new player should begin with playing just the cards they have. The reason for this is that knowing how to play on the board is much more important than using any of the cards. The second reason is that this is just a richer experience. You want new players to use all the crazy cards they open up initially and have fun with them.

Next, any suggestions should have the goal in mind to teach new players what a good unit in duelyst looks like and why this is the case. These cards should be low in spirit and high in value for any deck they make, as @unreason suggests.

Finally, the gap between how good the “best in slot” unit at four mana neutral is compared to the next best card in your average deck really is not as large as you seem to suggest. This goes for the other suggestions as well. Hailstone golem, a basic card, performs in many games just the same as a thunderhorn would have. Sure, in decks built around thunderhorn, it will obviously be unable to replace it there. When you arrive at the point where you are building a deck around thunderhorn though, I do not think you need our advice anymore in this topic. You will simply know what cards go in it from seeing the deck in the wild, or finding it on a site like bagoum.

As a coda, I dislike reducing ones collection to just a meta deck. That just sounds like a great way to get tired of a game as you are reducing it to a singular experience.


While agreeing with @unreason 's and @rebound’s critique, I’d like to add that I personally started crafting neutrals before faction cards. I didn’t want to concentrate on one faction. I thought I’d be a vet main initially, but I also understood that I knew too little, and hesitated to craft any faction cards preferring neutrals. That was a wise choice as I see now - vet is one of my least played factions.

So, I see this guide as a very good work. Not aimed at the complete newbie though, just an inexperienced player who got some spirit and a couple of decks running, and is looking for a wise investment. I also like how the guide presents 4 cards of different rarity. And also with some useful comments done on each card.

Well done, @kirabi !

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People are assuming there is one type of beginner/new player. I walked in duelyst played about 3 days then I put 60 dollars in the game. I would say they are 3 types of New player

1.They are free to play players who don’t spend any money.They benefit from the list as something to plan towards and efficient use of their funds when it makes sense.

2.They are players who spend limited amount of money. They are probably who benefits the most list. It gives them 4 directly useful strong cards that can go in many list for their duelyst lifespan not including rotation or nerf.

3.They are players who spend a large chunk earlier. Not as useful them because they will pick up alot cards when they spend naturally but when combined with upcoming factional lists.Will help to best maximize their money spent.

I am not just going to cater to the free to play player in this list. I am not telling a player who is on budget to go get these cards but a player on a budget will appreciate these cards because the cards will never need to be replace in your collection or deck( unless personal preference,rotation or nerf). A player has to know their budget but I will put stuff in the update so player has limited funds will better understand how to spend them.

There is nothing wrong with you are saying we just disagree on the order. I will tell new Magmar player to craft Mankantors and Lavaslashers before anything else.You guys are saying flesh out your decks/collections first. I am saying here are the power cards/strong cards build around these cards. The difference in approach is when you lose with my setup you feel alot better. I have read too many post that said I feel out gunned. My goal is to get the right big guns in new players hands as quickly as possible and avoid the feeling of being out gunned.

You mean like this

How hard is it then to get 120 spirit to get three commons in dancing blades?

Lets see how it looks with 4 cards i mentioned and just basics

Okay Let’s see how looks when you add in Magmar good stuff

Not the final build but shows how you transition upwards

Final this

The point is having strong tools as you transition to final deck

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Perhaps you should also specify the best order to craft the cards. Cheaper cards would be an ideal option to craft first, and rarer cards can be crafted later when the player acquires a decent collection.

That part of the equation depends on the person and their budget but all the feed back i will make an adjustment in the post to clearly mention budget and importance when to spending on things.

I think Sunsteel Defender has a place on the same tier as these two. I know it’s being rotated out but Sunsteel is so sticky and difficult to deal with, especially when new players are forced to deal with it. It almost always ends up being a 2-for-1 trade and left to its own devices it will wreak havoc with your opponent’s board and health total.

Honestly I feel like thunderhorn is the most valuable card to craft. However I feel like there should be a disclaimer that you should get your deck’s clan specific cards first. Get all the staples for the specific general you’re using then work your way up from there. That’s what I’m doing and I’m already working on 2 other decks. Right now my decks are all budget but eventually I plan on posting all my deck lists as I get better cards and as I become a better player. I plan on running Magmar and Abyssian as my two clans and I have a Maehv list in the works, My Sentinel swarm build that I posted, and I’m going to start the spirit grind for my vaath deck tommorow (mostly just getting the magmar staples tbh. Gunna work towards some eggmar type stuff cause I think rebirth is kinda broken as a mechanic if used correctly)

The list is a work in progress, I am taking all feedback so I can make it better.The plan is

Introduction to Duelyst
Introduction to positioning in Duelyst
Introduction to card advantage, tempo and win conditions in Duelyst
Neutral craft guide
Faction craft guide
Budget craft guide
Current Tier list

Off the top that is what i plan to cover. It is large undertaking because you have make guides in manner to were they don’t become obsolete.I post these things on the forums so i can get feedback ,catch errors and also to gauge interest. When put together it will make more sense you use Faction guide,Neutral guide and Budget guide you get good feel of how make decks in duelyst. Of course this all done with an eye on future expansion that could completely change everything.


No matter how much money someone spends on this game, it really just boils down to extra spirit, functionally, and no matter how fast you earn spirit, in my opinion it should be spent in a specific order: dancing blades, EMP’s, sunsteel defenders (Thank you @calebtenrou, I stuck an edit about sunsteels at the end of my previous post), because they can massive upgrade every faction’s newbie deck, and from there, good commons, good rares, good epics, good legendaries, in that order, excluding from each category cards that only work with factions/generals/decks you’re not interested in.

If you tell newbs to make epics first, the thousand spirit and change they sink into three good cards in a deck full of basics could have been used to make, like, twenty-five commons. If I had to choose between making a Magmar deck with basics and Makantor warbeasts, or making one with basics and commons, I’d pick the commons.

There are some game-changing epics, sure, but three good cards don’t make a deck. A player’s first priority should be getting enough good cards to purge the vanillas out of their deck, maybe with the exception of hailstone golems, and if you’re Magmar making terradons to play around with isn’t a terrible idea either. Warbeasts are cool, but if you don’t draw or replace into them, you’re stuck with, at best, the best basics have to offer, and there’s only so much they can do against someone of equal skill with better cards. Don’t bank on one player to carry the entire team. Skip the warbeasts, make those three golden neutrals and then get to work on those young silithars and earth spheres.

To be clear, I’m using Makantors and Magmar as examples, apply the same principles to any epic card and related deck.


I would play a basic deck with just makantors over one with good common/rare cards any day of the week tbh. crafting neutrals is good if you want to paly a bunch of factions, but if you are realy into lizards for the start then getting makantor asap is the correct choice.