The Nerfs and Buffs I would make to Duelyst


We are in the month of February and with an expansion coming up it doesn’t really make sense to make changes now but these topics are generally fun topics to talk about. And purpose of this topic is to be more of a conversion about these cards than to “OMG OMG this cards are broken I hate duelyst things need to changed”. I am not dev BUT I did stay Holiday Inn express last night .Seriously I have no illusion that I am better designing or fixing cards than devs I respect the amount of difficulty and different factors that go into making cards. That said mistakes do happen and changes don’t always go the way predicted so there is some room to talk about alternate ways of doing things and that is what this topic aims to do.( Also this topic is another one of my test run for my blog/website that I am working on)

Here are the changes I would make cards in the current meta.


changed to 9 mana 9/9

Emp needs a huge hit .I think almost everyone can see that and see the effect that Emp has on the game. Now some people think that method is through changing the stats. My opinion tends to be when something has the clearly better stats than everything around it the easy change would be to make it cost more. Plus EMP should be more of a last resort minion in my opinion that you use to save the game as a 9 mana 9/9 I think is good cost for that.


changed to 4 mana 4/4

With Skorn leaving the meta this card becomes one of the only real good neutrals against swarm strategies and they are generals(Vet) and deck types(Titan) need a good neutral aoe minion. Thunderhorn needs to be nerfed I think we all agree to that but thunderhorn still needs be a good minion. I don’t think necessary think making it 4 health is the right move it opens to being remove from Lavaslasher, Mankantor,holy immolation, a general hit and 2 attack minion,etc. I don’t know what necessarily is the right change i do know though that this card should be playable and whatever change they make to the card

Lost in Desert

changed from 4 mana to 5 mana

With change to Thunderhorn this change might be completely necessary but the card feels slight overtuned and the one mana change feels like the simple fix.

Blood of Air

changed from 5 mana to 6 mana

This card is too strong and it has to be too strong because it is Vet only real source of range removal. That isn’t enough justification for this card remaining that way you can simple nerf Blood of Air and add another range removal tool to Vet card pool.

Siphon Energy

Changed from 0 to 1

Remove “nearby the general” from the text

And here is the tool that is add to Vet cardpool .It is what the siphon nerf should have been in my opinion.Nothing to complicated give Vet the early removal they need but keeping the theme of their range removal being inefficient and largely a weakness.

Mind Cage Oni

Text change to put copy of spell that transformed this into your action bar

It is kinda stupid how much value this card gets and it has reasonable body and the protection that sentinel gives a minion. The change i would do is to make it work like the Abyssian Sentinel that just copies one spell.

Tusk Boar

changed from 2 mana 2/3 to 3 mana 3/3

It use to be one of Songhai best early tools and it should have alway been that for a legendary minion. Songhai should be one of the best early game factions and change reinforces that idea. This is another change to where i think it should be been the original nerf

Grandmaster Zendo

changed from 6 mana to 7 mana

Zendo is ridiculously strong card and as the devs play around more and more with idea of control Songhai build this card will feel more and more horrible to play against in future.Plus the change bring it more in line with other grandmasters.You can make an argument for change its stats if you change the mana cost though

Grandmaster Variax

changed from 8 mana 8/8 to a 7 mana 7/7. Awesome effect can be dispel by dispelling the general.

Variax cost was always fine the only problem was that you were able to ramp it out early and get infinite value for the rest of the game. Making it dispellable make that cheap strategy beatable and gives Abyss a reason to carry multiple Variax. Variax is more necessary now because Maehv and Lilthe need a good finisher with Rev moved to 8 and Variax is the perfect card to do it


removed nearby enemy

Just a small tweak to make a Maehv focused card stronger


changed from 3/1 to 3/2

The desolator can be a little to strong at times and Cass abuse the fact that she can ping desolator and take it off the board.I think that small tweak keeps the card strong but avoids that kind abuse from happening

Plasma Storm

changed from 5 to 6

This change just gives couple of stuff a little more breathing room and gives the devs ability to create other removal tools for Magmar without making the faction oppressive removal wise.

Silthar Elder

changed from 6/6 to 7/7

My favorite card just small tweak to make unit closer to what it was in the past

Veteran Silthar

changed from 4/3 to 4/4

The most obvious change in Duelyst

Matron Elveiti

changed from 8 mana 7/5 to 7 mana 7/7

Testing must have been amazing for this card but it has missed the mark badly.I want it changed to just to see if it would be used and I don’t think it gets used even with this change

Fenir Warmaster

Ghost wolf changed to 3/3

I always thought this card was nerf too hard and this was the changed that should have been made

Here my changes do you disagree or agree? What changes would you make if you could? Once again remember this more in the spirit of general discussion than some urgent need to change the game. Meta is relatively balanced and the strongest card is probably a neutral that can be countered. Duelyst is actually in good place. If Thunderhorn is our biggest problem then devs have done an amazing job.


I agree with all of your ideas except the EMP change. For me, the main reason to put EMP in your deck is the dispel, followed by the destroy artifacts effect. To stop crazy combos from spiralling out of control. It’s primary purpose is to enable comebacks from unfortunate situations.

The body is just there for comeback part, but with Songhai’s and Vanar’s movement tools, EMP becomes more of an offensive card with the Opening Gambit clearing a path the previous turn.

I would keep the mana at 7 to have the OG available before the end of the game and have the body become something closer to the likes of 6/8.


I don’t want to acknowledge rotations and am thinking of balancing an eternal format. But rotations will likely fix the current range of issues by removing important staples like Falcius taking vet down a peg, losing khur/lance taking ragnora down a peg.

EMP is fine and an important counter to exist. Your change would kill the card. If anything -1/-1 to statline, but that’s it. The smaller a nerf the better ALWAYS.

I think thinderhorn is fine, but at 4 health that would open some design space.

Lost I also think is fine. Don’t change the cards that work with thunder and thunder at the same time. One or the other. But I do think one of em ought to happen.

Leave BOA alone. If BOA is left alone unlimited range siphon is to much, but perhaps near a friendly unit rather then just general.

ONI is dumb, I would settle for fixing its glaring game breaking bugs before asking for a nerf.

I would rather leave Oni as is then suffer through the nightmare of how overpowered boar was at 3/3. Its strong but balanced at 2/3.

Zendo to seven at the very least, like every other grandmaster. Personally I would like it reworked though. Remove all randomness from the movement/attack following a predictable pattern, and make it proc at the end of turn so you have a chance to react. Could even be a five mana card at that point.

With the amount of dispel in the game that change to variax would be crippling. BUT if we made it another a 6/6/6 demon I could see this working.

Caco: How dare you encourage swingy randomness! Give it the Armada treatment of closest enemy. Even then card still isn’t good enough.

Deso: leave deso alone, it’s like the only thing keeping Abyss in the game.

Plasma: Leave it alone, it is a fair linear effect with counterplay, and a signature card. Magmar has been hit to much as is.

Completely agree with Slithars.

I agree with Matron/Fenrir.

Titan is a huge polarizing meta card. Think it needs to cost 8 mana.

Eight gates/mantra continue to be an issue. We need boulder hurl to be minion only, and abjucator to have a better stat line but reduce one selected card. I would also like to see more Kage lightning sources and less sources of Phoenix Fire.

Shidai: RNG is a problem, she also breaks mantra, and her arcanyst variants are quickly starting to become a force to be reckoned with. Rework her to instead of placing a random spell in your hand to just selecting one of her effects, but remove the draw power one. Then she would be an awesome utility general instead of an rng spell procing nightmare.

Ragnora feels a bit strong. The combination of raptyr/MorinKhur/Eggmorph/Fortitude is pretty brutal. For eternal Khur to six, and raptyr to 4/4 should do the trick.

Abyss is struggling in general. Hyper swarm is another polarized match up, and everything else is lagging behind a bit. I don’t know what I would suggest to change, I just have to hope the expansion will bring lots of power to everything but hyper swarm.


The two cards that need a Nerf are EMP and thunderhorn. The first should be a 6/6 while thorn should have the text “when this minion attacks it deals damage to all joined enemies”. The boa Nerf is acceptable only if you apply your siphon rework. I agree 100% with mindcage, tusk boar and desolator changes. The other looks just personal preference and I would not do them


To those who believe that a “only on attack” clause makes sense: it doesn’t.
The clause of Thunderhorn becomes absolutely irrelevant as soon as Shimzar Rotates out. Then the only “get attacked” scenario for Thorn is Zendo then ( and I agree with the 7 mana nerf)

Kinetic Projection still works
Ass Protocol/ Mist Dragon still works

What you say is to nerf Vanar NOW and don’t give it the time to say goodbye to the combo that keeps the faction alive.

exept for the BoA, BoAr and EMP nerfs I agree. Plasma storm could be more expensive but I don’t think it would change much. The faction has enough strong cards to get to 6 mana. I also would like to see swarm haveing some more breathing room.


It’s actually very relevant because it allows you to punch it without worring about your positioning. Making it a 4-4 doesn’t change anything bar making it Magmar food


As soon as it is a 4/ 4 you can kill it with a general punch and most 2 drops. If you position right the counterattack wont effect more than the attackers. You could even kill T-horn with 2 general attacks.

“Not needing to worry about positioning” doesn’t sound right for me. Maybe I’m just too accustomed to it.
“making it Magmar food” would also happen if you don’t let it chain on counterattack. Slasher would be able to fight without chaining, makantor would work as ever thanks to rush.


They are some discussable stuff in your post

  1. EMP isn’t fine,In board focus game Emp kills every single board focus strategy. As 9 mana minion you had 8 turns to do something which is fair enough. EMP is only change I made that had some intention to kill the card but I do understand the importance of EMP and counters existing.I just disagree the effect should happen 7.I just set up my walls. EMP.I just set up my Grow minions. EMP. I filled the board with backstab minions. EMP. The effect make sense as last resort to me

  2. I am fine in leaving BoA alone but Vet will never get the early removal it needs because BoA is so stupid then minion like Circulus or Phantasm is going to pop back up again.And Vet is going to be murder it by it.

  3. Variax already isn’t used much .I fail to see how my suggestion worse the current situation

  4. Yes Plasma storm is fine in someways but when combine with another strong removal,Magmar becomes a little to strong.3 mana rebuke and 6 mana Plasma Storm would have been fine. Thats is goal in Plasma change allowing strong removal to be made for Magmar

  • Titan is strong card but you give up alot to get it,I think it is fine but without a card like EMP to stop titan it is stupid.That card is only reason I wouldn’t want any change to EMP

  • While I get your point these Songhai cards are proven non issues.I haven’t played against Mantra deck all last season.I think your issue with these cards more personal preference /bias than actually issues. Also RNG is definitively not a problem with Shidai but once that your personal thing.When something sends the Songhai out of control then deal with but I see no fires.

  • Ragnora the current incarnation does some silly stuff but has to be built in very specific formula way and cards are being rotated out (sorry sticking your head in sand about rotation doesn’t mean it is not going to happen).Left as is the current package would grow out of control but it isn’t being left as is.

  • Abyss just need finishers it is not far off being good. It won’t be shock in the expansion to see them overpowered because they have so much stuff that busted or near busted. Abyss gets once more of survivablity then something like Stygian Observer is ridiculous. Abyss has to much strong stuff to be kept down for long


The difference between punching a minion and punching it knowing that I have to change the position of my board completely for not getting destroyed is huge imho. Thats why I suggest this nerf.


Bender does everything you mentioned hating EMP for way better. Because of things like ArtifactHai, Arcanysts, Titan, and Walls having EMP is just a must. Without it those decks would run super rampant. The combination of bender and or EMP are the only thing keeping them in check.

At seven mana EMP is already super slow and gives people plenty of time to do something, and it cant be run in most decks due to the effect being linear and fair. It only fits certain decks, and those decks usually need it to be competitive. It is a well designed card and is far from a problem.

The only reason it may end up as a problem is everything is getting nerfed while it has stayed at its same power, its not currently a problem, but if it is a tiny stat bump is all the more nerf we should start with.

Arcanyst Shidai, and Burn decks (Vanar, Songhai, and even lyonar) are all top tier right now. Yea mantra less so, but you notice I didn’t mention hitting mantra directly, just hitting Abjucator which has been a notorious design problem for awhile now. And my Shidai suggestion changes her to a healthy state that covers both of those and nips the growing arcanyst problem in the bud.

Variax would go from not used much to probably not used. But at 6/6/6 dispellable it would actually be pretty strong AND have counterplay. Stygian is also just not that great unfortunately. But yea they are not missing much, but they need something.


Reflection Seraphim is actually insanely over hyped, it was extremely telegraphed l, easy to stop, and vanar decks that rellyed on it where kinda bad if they couldn’t ramp or get the combo, that was why my deck did multiple things.

What’s keeping the faction alive is there strong BBSes.

Faie’s bbs allows any control deck to thrive, and with the combination of Crypto and bloodbound mentor leads to one of the most explosive decks in the game, third to full power burn horn.

Kara’s bbs makes some very flavourful and strong swarm decks that just aim to out value the oppenent with arcanyst synergy.


I will be brief and to the point:

  • Proposals I strongly agree with: Thunderhorn, Siphon Energy, Mind cage oni, Variax, Silithars, Elvethi

  • Proposals I strongly disagree with: EMP, Lost in the desert, Blood of air, Plasma storm

  • Neutral positions: Tusk Boar, Zendo, Caco, Desolator, Fenrir

Briefly put, I disagree with the nerfs to strong answers, which are an important ingredient for a tempo-based game like Duelyst.

Edit: related to this topic, I would definitely make Frostburn cost 5 again. Now it is ridiculously overcosted yet we need cards like it.


The only change I agree on is Siphon Energy and maybe I would consider making EMP an 8/8 and Thunderhorn a 4/4.
All the rest should stay untouched ESPECIALLY BOA, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??
Just kidding. Well, no… But really, why would anyone nerf BoA <3 ?


Says the person who’s avatar is blood of air. :stuck_out_tongue:


If you really want EMP to cost nine, it’d better be a 10/15 with spell untargetability or something stupid like that, on top of what it already does. Even then it might not be playable without darkfire sacrifice or flash reincarnation.

Dropping its stats to 6/8 would, I think, be a reasonable change.

Thunderhorn…how about a four-mana 5/4 with “Whenever this attacks one or more enemies, all other enemies joined to those enemies take 3 damage.”? Still good stats for cost, but not as good, and its effect kills fewer things. Also there’s nothing special about its counterattacks anymore, so fighting it is easier. I think this would be a pretty strong nerf that would reduce it to a specialist card, but it’d still hopefully see play in certain decks. Keep in mind that it’s neutral, having it be good enough to go everywhere is a bad thing.

For lost in the desert, I’m thinking drop its mana cost to two but its damage to three. If this proved to be excessive, then I’d either up the damage to four or drop the mana cost to one from there.

Blood of air is fine. Five mana to waste something is a lot, even if it’s unconditional with an upside. Actually, I’d buff dark transformation. Make it transform a minion into a friendly wraithling. Goodbye, dying wish.

Siphon energy was really good at zero when it didn’t have a range restriction. It’ll be almost as good at one. I feel like this is too good because there are a lot of minions that are almost entirely ruined if dispelled. I’d do something in keeping with the name siphon energy. “Two mana: dispel a minion or general nearby your general. Restore 3 health to your general and they gain +1 attack.”

The attack boost is dispellable itself, of course. Now we have an interesting and hopefully useable spell. I’m a little worried about it being too good at two, but I feel like this wouldn’t see play at three, since shrouds would cost less and have a lot more range. The range on this sucks, so it’s got to have other reasons to use it. Good choice against Vaath, too.

I wouldn’t change oni specifically, it’s not overpowered. I would change all sentinels to be 1/6 as their starting stats, since they’re not supposed to be fighters in those forms, they’re supposed to vigilantly stand watch until they go off. From there, I’d buff and nerf their transformed states over time as usage stats came in on the updated sentinels. I think sentinels are an insanely cool idea and I want them to friggin’ work.

For tusk boar, I’d say some sort of rework is in order. I’m thinking four-mana 3/5 rush with “At the beginning of your turn, draw a card and shuffle tusk boar back into your deck.” I think that might have some interesting potential. Related note, give hedgekitties two extra health. If we have to pay four mana to rush out three damage, then saberspine tiger might as well be 3/4 and live through punching small stuff, at least. If either of these changes turns out to be too powerful, just back them off by one health.

And no, I don’t want a three-mana 3/3 tusk boar, then everyone’s two-drop will have to be positioned out of reach against Songhai, and they’ll also have a reliable way to stick six damage to the enemy general for three mana. Way too good.

Seven-mana Zendo is fine, bump his health up to seven while you’re at it though.

I’d say, 6/6/6 Variax, though don’t count her as a demon for the purposes of the gate to the Undervault, but make the super-bloodbound spell cost, not three mana, but seven. That way, the Abyssian player, each turn, has to choose between playing cards, or using the BBS, more or less.

Alternatively, 7/7/7 Variax, five mana for the uberBBS.

Cacophynos…change its stats to 5/4 and make its dying wish hit the nearest enemy minion. Should be playable now, not total garbage if dispelled, and the enemy can’t just blow it up without losing something. And anything that’s going to kill it in a fight needs at least six health, otherwise it’ll die in combat and the dying wish will kill something else.

Desolators are good, but not Makantor warbeast good. Maybe drop them to 2/1, make them just a touch less powerful. I’m not even sure they should be changed at all.

Leave plasma storm at five, but give it, and all hits-everything spells except for decimate, a three-space blast radius around the general casting it, counting the reach of the blast only in orthogonal steps, not diagonal ones, meaning you’d get a diamond-shaped blast. This would make mass removal less oppressive against swarms. Related note, bring frostburn back to five mana. Other related note, anyone have a good idea to make ghost lightning not garbage without totally breaking it?

And the reason decimate would keep its full-board reach is because it already has areas it won’t hit, around the generals.

…Decimate to three mana, sky burial to two, and sky burial also draws you a card. Now they’re not trash.

Make silithar elder a 5/7 for six, and at the end of your turn, he summons a young silithar egg on the space behind him. Seriously, why can elders make more elders? It makes a lot more flavor sense to have elders “give birth” to young ones. I think that’s a fair statline and ability for six mana. If he doesn’t see play that way, make him a 5/5 for five, same ability.

Veteran silithar, it’s the change everyone who plays this game wants.

Counterplay, please, just buff one card for us. Make veteran silithar maybe-playable. Making it 4/4 isn’t going to ruin the game. I’m serious, buff this freaking lizard. I know you don’t listen to us about this stuff, make an exception here, buff the lizard.

Seriously, compare its current incarnation with young silithar. We get two more attack for two more mana. Nothing else. It’s just the worst joke. No one’s laughing.

Freaking ragebinder gets a tribe, an extra health, one less mana cost, and a good bond ability, in exchange for one attack point.

You guys. Seriously.

Matron Elveiti, in her current form, is one of the worst cards in Duelyst. Suzumebachi is better. Serpenti is better. Storm kage is better. Every battle pet is better. Facestriker is better (Why isn’t it still called bloodletter?). Necroseer is better. Astral crusader is better.

Maybe a six-mana 3/4 with forcefield that makes your general damage-immune? Too much? Someone pitch an idea here, anything’s better than what we have now. The snowflake above her head looks like a little gravity well. Maybe she makes gravity wells?

The fenrir warmaster change is good. He’s too cool of a design to go to waste like that. If that proves to be too powerful somehow, maybe have the warmaster be 2/4 and the ghost wolf be 4/2. Stat flip. That’s a cool idea.

Oh, and make the draugar lord a 4/6 for five, and his ice drake is a 6/4. Much better.

…Makantor warbeast to 3/6 for seven. If it totally dies, then 4/5 for seven. If it’s still dead, then 3/5 for six. But seriously, it’s too friggin’ good now. Always has been.

Alright, that’s good for now. Feedback super-appreciated.


Variax: 7 mana 6/9: Your bloodbound spell costs 3 and is now AWESOME.

By taking out the opening gambit, you can de-AWESOME-ify their BBS by killing Variax. This puts Variax more in line with Nosh-Rak, Kraigon, and Zendo. I thought about making Variax cost 6, but then you could play it for instant value. I’d consider that for weaker stats though.

Also I would rework Zendo because playing against him just feels bad. That’s mostly my anti-Songhai bias tho.


No one would run Variax anymore if he was required to live to keep your awesome BBS. The chances of you getting value out of him before he died would be soon to none since your BBS costs 3 mana while awesome, and Variax already chews up your mana for that turn.

Even using sacrifice into Variax BBS isn’t worth it, since one use of the awesome BBS alone isn’t enough to really make a difference. The only reason it’s powerful at all is because you can use it frequently without card loss.

Making the “awesome” effect on your general vulnerable to dispel would probably be fine.


What about my nerf + can’t be target by spells?


Dunno, honestly. A big minion that cannot be removed via the most common removal tools (spells) is a pretty big problem, but at least it’s not old Mechaz0r.

The main problem I see is that making the buff dependent on Variax living makes you want to play the minion defensively, but his stats and cost make you want to play him offensively.


I think that makes it interesting. You have to decide which is best in the current context. I would also consider changing it to 6/8 for 7 so you can use it right away.