The problem with Situational Bloodborne Spells and more


To preface, in this thread I will talk about the state of current generals and factions, and why I believe that certain situational bloodborne spells (referred as BBS) have caused factions to fall into a trap, resulting in the current meta state. I will also bleed into other areas, such as what I believe the strongest faction is currently and how they are the epitome of the aforementioned trap, view on how 2 particular neutral minions fall into this trap, and suggestions for balance. I will also be referring to the faction who I believe is the perfect balance of two generals, and should be the example for the other factions.

The certain ‘situational BBS’ that I’m talking about are Ziran’s (Lyonar alternate general), Kaleos (Songhai main general), Starhorn (Magmar alternate general), Sajj (Vetruvian alternate general) and Kara (Vanar alternate general). The first 2 are situational due to their requirement of minions on board, Kara’s is situational due to the requirement of summoning a multitude of minions in one turn, Sajj doesn’t have enough health support to go control (among other Vetruvian issues, like range) and Starhorn’s is situational due to it being the only BBS to give your opponent an advantage by giving them a card. One of the major problems with these situational BBS is the fact that they cater to only a specific archetype, whether it be healing, move/backstab, draw/zoo, control/artifact, or zoo/walls. However, their situational nature isn’t the only thing that holds them back from being better: the bigger issue is the fact that their counterpart general has a generic BBS that doesn’t need an archetype.

To explain this a bit better, let me refer to the Abyssian faction, the only faction to have a perfect balance between the two generals. Cassyva and Lillithe have their own respective archetype, that being Shadow Creep and Swarm, yet both have access to tools to play each other’s archetype. Furthermore, while their BBS’s cater to their respective archetype, they can also be used in other decks as well, leading to other faction archetypes like Burn and Big/Ramp Abyssian.

Now, compare the faction BBS’s to others. Vaath, Faie, and Argeon all are focused on dealing damage, with Vaath and Argeon increasing the attack of a minion or general permanetly while Faie’s BBS deals direct damage and requires the opponent to play around (positioning wise). Zirix and Reva create bodies on the board, creating board advantage, with Zirix’s Iron Dervish having dervish synergy and Reva’s having range (which is especially threatening in a faction with combo tools like Inner Focus and Killing Edge). Before the BBS patch, they had their own archetype to themselves, yet were still at a higher power level then their counterparts. That is, until the Rise of the Bloodborne occured.

When a faction or archetype sees little play, it is known that CPG will release powerful cards to buff it. After all, the same thing occured on a larger scale with Shimzar’s release, giving the almost-dead Vetruvian faction extremely powerful tools, such as Falcius, Pax, and Nimbus. The same is true with the RotB expansion: powerful cards like Tectonic Spikes, Entropic Gaze, Variax, Nosh-Rak, and Trinity Oath were pushed to help support the lesser-played archetypes. While it may have worked for Swarm Abyssian, it achieved little to nothing for the Vetruvian, Songhai, and Vanar faction in terms of supporting the lesser-played general. What’s worse, while it initially seemed that Ziran and Starhorn would finally see play, too much support was given to their archetypes, to the point where Argeon and Vaath could use their new tools better. In fact, if it wasn’t for Decimus, I have no doubt in my mind that Starhorn would barely surpass Ziran in terms of overall power.

Which leads me to my main point; these generic BBS are the reason why cards like Holy Immolation, Tectonic Spikes, Entropic Gaze, Scintilla, and Trinity Oath (to name a few) won’t be nerfed. If they are, it will kill the playstyle of the alternate general. Remember Mana Vortex, the key combo card in Songhai pre Shimzar nerf? It was nerfed because Reva, a general that could summon a 1/1 ranged body, could abuse the cycle and mana reduction effect to an extent beyond Kaleos’s use. Post nerf, Reva was hit hard, yet it was Kaleos that truely died from the nerf (along with the Saberspine Seal nerf, which again, Reva could abuse with her ability to summon a 1/1 ranged body). Now we have Vaath, a general who has gone full-on aggro with Starhorn’s draw cards, and Argeon, who (to me) is the strongest and S-tier general simply because of the tools meant to be for Ziran. The moment Holy Immolation and Trinity Oath are nerfed, Ziran will drop heavily in power, but not Argeon, as he can always rely on Roar Tigers the same way Starhorn relies on Decimus to burst down enemies at a distance. Neutral minions are suppose to support decks and win conditions, not become them.

What are my suggestions to solve this issue? I have several ideas, although they may not be as thorough as I’d like them to be.

1.) Rework Lyonar, Magmar, Songhai, and Vanar BBS

I left out Vetruvian, because while Zirix has the superior BBS in the faction, they are the closest to the Abyssian faction in a sense of being able to play each other’s archetype and having other archetypes accessible in-faction (albeit not the best). However, the other 4 factions have BBS that will continue to outshine the alternate general, to the point where they don’t have a faction identity. Vaath’s resembles the growth keyword, yet the faction is to jumbled for it to support an archetype that isn’t aggro or burst related. Argeon and Faie share a similar fate, and if Reva did not create a minion, I believe that mana vortex would be able to revert to it’s original combo potential. Also worth mentioning that while it has wall synergies, I feel that Kara’s BBS is much better suited for Argeon if CPG wants to push Argeon to a more zoo-based faction, and that Kara’s should push enemy minions 1 space/become mesmerize (this way, it would still have wall synergy by being able to bring enemies closer to your immobile walls).

2.) Faction Rework Instead of Expansion

The more cards that CPG release and the less they pay attention to their faction identities, the worse the game state will become. While Vetruvian has their identity, a large portion of their core cards do not support this. Similarly, with the above general BBS rework, cards would have to be balanced in order to accommodate for their changes. The rework would specifically focus on Vanar, Lyonar, Magmar, Vetruvian, and Songhai, (NOT neutral minions) as the Abyssian faction is at a state where both generals are viable and do not need a rework.

3.) Rework Tiger and Decimus

Starhorn wouldn’t be this strong currently if it wasn’t for Decimus. We wouldn’t have to worry about Thumping Tigers or Roar Tigers if the Rush keyword wasn’t what it is. Decimus should be reworked so that it can support decks, not be their sole win condition (as should the same be true for every other neutral minion). The same applies to Tiger, and the state of the Rush Keyword will continue to limit design space for the future of Duelyst. Many players have suggested amazing reworks, the most notable separating the two factors of Rush: being able to move immediately and being able to attack immediately. This rework would be the better choice in my view, as you have minions that can automatically reposition themselves and others that can immediately attack.

Again, these are my views on the matter. I encourage you all to share your thoughts on the matter, and I implore CPG to really look into the above issues that I addressed for the sake of their game’s state. Today is the 16th: meaning that we will either receive or not receive a mid-month patch. If a nerf patch is released, I want everyone to examine exactly how it will effect certain generals, and if you see any parallel to any previous nerfs (mainly Mana Vortex and Siphon Energy, and how it hurt Kaleos and Sajj respectively in terms of power).

TLDR but not really; Argeon, Vaath, Sajj, Reva, and Vanar BBS’s (specifically Faie) are hindering their factions due to their “generic” (not pertaining to a specific archetype) bloodborne spells and causing stronger synergy cards to be produced for the lesser played archetype and general (with more specialized/situational bloodborne spells that pertain to a certain archetype). However, these stronger cards also cause a power increase in the higher played-general, leading to problems in terms of faction nerfs to key cards (Mana Vortex and Siphon Energy), the release and abuse of strong cards (Trinity Oath, Tectonic Spikes, Holy Immolation), and the use of neutral minions as win conditions instead of supports for a win condition (Saberspine Tiger, and Decimus, the primary source of Starhorn’s current power).

The expansions, reworks, and BBS have left all factions (except Abyssian) out of place in regards to their identity to the point where CPG must fix them before releasing new cards, as the more cards they release, the more cards they will have to fix when it comes down to it. The goal is to have all faction generals reach a level of flexibility and specialization that the Abyssian faction has, which I believe is the golden example for how generals should function in their faction.


I couldn’t agree more with your analysis. For a long time I thought exactly the same, I just couldn’t put that into words.
Great job at analyzing, I agree with you 100% here.
I love Duelyst, I won’t drop it, but I regret having lost a bit of interest in the game post RotBB (actually post siphone nerf)


First things first: Kara is the alt Vanar general, not the main…

Now to the subject of discussion: I do understand what you’re trying to say, but I believe situational is not the right word to describe the problem with the BBS’s you pointed out. It’s more related to limititation or redirection of the original faction designs.

In regards to Magmar, which is the biggest example of this issue, I feel like Starhorn’s BBS ended up warping the faction as whole. In RotB and Shim’Zar, they added so many aggro enablers and draw-related cards to support Starhorn that they’ve ended up completely changing Vaath’s playstyle. All it took was people to realize that his universally good BBS worked better even in archetypes supposed to be Starhorn’s for his original approach to be substituted by the new Aggromar style. Meanwhile, traditional faction archetypes like Rebirth and Grow are longing for some support, but almost all of the new cards were just trying to make Starhorn work…

I’m sure @misanthropovore has a lot to say in regards to this particular problem, as he did a specific thread discussing this “warping” effect Starhorn’s BBS has on Magmar.

In the other factions mentioned, I don’t think the situation is as extreme as in Mag yet, but it might as well be going in this direction. Right now, decks that can make good use of Kara’s, Sajj’s and Kaleos BBSs in detriment of the other faction general’s are just too unreliable. Zir’an’s case is a bit weird, because the archetype she supports is well-defined, but cards that are supposed to work well with it (Sunforge Lancer, Holy Immolation, Trinity Oath, Scintilla) just happen to work really well in Tempo, Aggro and Control Argeon too, which are all superior to Healyonar in the actual state of the game.

I think the easiest way to solve this problema is reworking the more problematic BBSs, making them stronger and more capable to abuse the tools their factions dispose of. Simultaneously, cards like Entropic Gaze and Tectonic Spikes, which just feel out of place, could be changed into something more related to their faction’s original strengths and archetypes…


Thanks for pointing out the Kara mistake, fixed it.

I originally defined the BBSs as ‘situational’ due to the greater nature of the BBS in relations to their counterparts. Usually, you don’t want to use Ziran’s unless you have healing synergy, and Starhorn doesn’t use his BBS unless he desperately needs cards (such as for lethal) or has Decimus (or other card synergy cards) to use it with, which is more situational in comparison to giving a minion +2 attack or by giving yourself +1 attack (the fact that their affects are permanent may or maynot also be a contributing factor, although I’m not sure how much that would really change anything). However, as a whole they are contributing to the misdirection/limitation of the faction’s original intent and design, as you described.

I agree with your assessment on the Magmar faction, especially with how Starhorn has warped the faction with card draw, leaving grow and rebirth behind (I also appreciate @misanthropovore 's numerous threads on how Starhorn has affected the faction as a whole).

I see how Vanar may not be extreme atm and is heading in that direction, but I think that Songhai and Vetruivan doesn’t appear to be prevalant in the situation because it already happened to them (via Siphon Energy and Mana Vortex nerf), although I aggree that their archetypes aren’t as reliable as their counterparts (in Songhai’s case, you could look to the fact that their cylcing and combo tool is nerfed, making it harder to make consistent Kaleos-orientated combo decks).

You mention how that while Zir’an is well supported in terms of her archetype, her tools are being used 3 powerful Argeon decks that are stronger than her deck entirely. I think this is a perfect example on how the situation is extreme in Lyonar: powerful tools made for Zir’an is making Argeon an even stronger general. While it is nice to give Argeon tools to make him able to run Healyonar decks, Argeon doesn’t really have a specified archetype, making it difficult to create cards to help Zir’an play a faction archetype that doesn’t really exist. The same can be applied in a similar manner to Vaath and Faie: their BBS’s don’t cater to a specific archetype, so cards can’t be released for their alternate generals to play the other’s archetype like Cassyva and Lillithe can. While Reva and Kaleos have Spellhai and Backstabhai (among other archetypes) respectively, Reva’s ability to generate a body makes her a better combo general overall, especially with Inner Focus in existence (which again is why I feel CPG had nerfed Mana Vortex). Overall, the expansions, rework, and BBS have left these factions out of place and out of order to the point where CPG must fix before releasing new cards, as the more cards they release, the more cards they will have to fix when it ultimately comes down to it.


I like your analysis. I find most of the considerations very sensible and, though I’m totally sure CPG will not take the full route to fixing these issues, I also think they should definitely perform a few changes to faction cards and BBSs. I used a neutral term here exactly because I don’t want to suggest buffs or nerfs, but rather reworks.

Based on forum posts and informal discussion, it seems several players are confused by faction identities today and share the observation that a few boring, broken cards have been introduced to help less popular archetypes see play. Broken cards are not fun to anyone.

I would love to see a massive “reworking” patch coming in the next future. Sure, this would require a lot of work, but faction identity is partially being lost, not all players are happy about the current meta, and it is hard to understand the long-term direction of the game. For now, I look forward to the next balance patch, but I completely buy the idea that CPG should first focus on improving the current state of the game, and only later print new cards.

Faction reworks to some extent and new game modes are the most important things to me now, even more than the mobile release. Notice that releasing Duelyst on mobile at the wrong time may actually be harmful to the game.


Prefer it if you made your text more short and concise. I’m sure CPG is past the point where they would consider changing most generals, an entire faction, and a number of cards and abilities.

Some of the generals clearly have problematic designs, lately it has been improving but only because CPG forced synergy into the factions. Ziran’s BBS should be a little more reliable. Kaleos feels like it is missing something. Starhorn has a rather poor design altogether.

I think Sajj is the General that most deserves a rework. Each of the Generals you are talking about have synergy and purpose. Ziran can keep minions on the field, and trigger a wide variety of healing cards. Sajj doesn’t trigger anything at all, Sajj is designed to get more attack from artifacts but that is rarely helpful, a lot of Sajj’s BBS output is wasted.

Kara has a straightforward design that works with minion spam, it might be weak but it works as intended, it has good synergy with a number of vespyr, wall, and nuetral cards.


I don’t think it’s too hard to provide decent fixes to some of these problems, even without major reworks. Something which comes to my mind for Sajj is: Deal double damage to minions this turn, your general can move an additional space.

Kara and Starhorn are the other two problematic generals for me, because they require weird cards to be printed to support them. Kaleos and Zi’ran look better to me, their BBS have some strong uses


You could make a TLDR of, “Generic BBS generals do what Archetype focused/reliant BSS do but better due to not being inhibited/pigeon-holed into their archetype.”

Of that, I think your analysis is quite accurate. You make mention of generic/specific BBS’s, but I don’t think you ever mentioned a direction to be taken (make all generic or specific) or a solution. Assuming just out of choice?

To propose a solution (yea or nay, at least the idea is out there for consideration), specific BBS generals could be stronger BBS since it is designed for an archetype.

Good idea? Eh, probably not. I don’t think I’d even recommend implementing such an idea myself. But, it’s out there and it would allow them to come back into relevancy in contrast to the general generals.

This frustrates me, as this sounds so parallel to the Variax post/complaint thread: A card that synergizes with another to the point of OP or breaking the game. Variax isn’t (mostly) the problem, the problem is how DFS can bring it out too early. Similarly, (if Thumping/Roar are a problem), the problems are in the supporting cards/spells.

People can disagree with me here, but my opinion is that I think the existence of minions without summoner sickness is necessary. This allows for ways for someone to come back into the game or address an immediate concern, performing similarly to a limited range spell. The risk in Rush’s allowance is the win-more impact it can bring.

I personally have never been upset with any Rush experiences (excluding my first encounters with Tiger and Makantor :smile:), but these may be noteworthy solutions to those who do perceive Rush as a problem.

This. If we removed everything else from this entire thread, this should be the one thing to be presented. I would think that CPG would already be aware of this point, but an impact like this can never be reiterated too may times.


Same threads always pop up. Getting attack on any card is a going to be better. They have to go out of the way to over shadow or come close to gain 1 attk, gain ranged minion, +2attk etc. Zirran. Is perfect for her faction who play beefy provoke or Zeal minions. It makes them harder to get rid of. Argeon ends to ur games faster buy that’s what we as players want… The same ppl who cheeses the double baconators or laser kitties or keeper rush magmar.

Saji is not understood or respected. Dealing double damage to a minion is big especially in a faction with great artifacts as vet. Imagine if they got Concealing shroud instead of Vanar people would be screaming unfair in the threads all day.

Starhorn sure why not I would love for it to read draw a card but cp thought it to powerful. Really I would have it where you both draw a card then ur opponent discards 2 random cards that’s fair for me :slight_smile:.

The biggest problem with magmar is that it has strong cards and keywords. keep in mind any minion can be flashed 2 turns or more earlier. So a rebirth minion strong enough can stay on field forever. Grow minions have the same problem, moloki priestess if played right will die but her other grow allies have a nice lead. These aren’t played simply cause they are slower and don’t offer that immediate value of rush spam, drogon double attk damage or burn face ignore ur board decks.

Less face it these other generals and their decks require more thought and strategy. Something the masses won’t do unless forced to. So I don’t see these threads going away even if these or any changes happen.


There’s a reason Magmar is green.

<Grunting tone> Hulk smash!


:slight_smile: Point taken but you gotta remember starhorn is an old man he can’t just go smash smash like them young Vaaths. He plays the long game.


@nicon Sorry, I tend to remble when it come to drawn out post like these ><’.

In regards to reworking generals, I can agree that Sajj’s BBS doesn’t really contain much faction or synergy with cards (besides artifacts) in comparison to the other generals like Zir’an and Kaleos. I would love to see more synergy be focused into Sajj’s BBS along with other generic BBS that don’t really lend themselves to their own specific archetype, while still allowing room to play other archetypes.

@seraphicreaper One reason why I didn’t create a tldr (partially due to my own laziness) is because I feel that people would gain a better understanding of my viewpoint on these issues. However, I may (and probably will) create a TLDR based on my last quote you responded to .

As a direction to take for the BBSs, I want them to be specialized, yet able to function in other archetypes (biggest example being the Abyssian faction; both are useful in their respective archetype yet can also work in their counterpart’s and other archetypes). The effects have to be unique, yet not necessarily stronger than their counterpart’s in terms of playing a deck (ex: Zir’an’s BBS should be equal power level to Argeon’s, stronger in Zir’an archetype/Healyonar decks yet weaker in Argeon’s archetype (whatever his is), yet both should still have enough tools to be able to play each other’s archetype, if that makes any sense).

I mentioned Tiger, because as the only neutral rush option in the game, it will and has already caused certain key buff cards to be nerfed. One of the major reason’s why Kara’s initial BBS was nerfed was due to 7/6 Rush Tigers that she could lay out in the late game. It is because of Tiger that Scion’s Third Wish went from giving +3/+3 and Blast to +3/+3 and Flying to it’s current state, +3/+3 and Flying to a dervish. I don’t have a problem with faction rush minions: it adds an element to the game that makes the player play around, knowing that the faction has access to Rush. If the rush keyword stays the same, I would prefer Rush to exist only in certain faction minions, the current ones being Tusk Boar (Songhai), Spectral Revannent (Abyssian), Mankantor Warbeast and Elucidator (Magmar), yet as long as Tiger exist buff effects will continue to plague the ladder, such as in Lyonar (a faction who hasn’t had rush in-faction since the nerf to their 2 mana 1/4 dispel minion).

@persona0 I will not deny that the situational BBS’s listed require more skill and thought, and I agree that more testing may be needed to fully understand those generals. What I wanted to focus on in this thread is how the BBS’s with less skill cap, and are generic (in the sense that they don’t really cater to a specific archetype like Lillithe and Cassyva’s) and/or favor more aggro playstyle (not saying it is bad, but it doesn’t lend itself to a unique archetype. Control, Aggro, and Midrange are more subtypes in my view; playstyles that decks can choose to go, yet aren’t limited to a certain archetype).

For Starhorn, I think the concept of him drawing a card, in general at his release, was outside of the faction, as draw was suppose to be the faction’s main weakness (although I do like the concept of parallel draws). Besides that point, I do agree that both Grow and Rebirth are strong keywords that could get out of hand if supported to much. My personal beef with Magmar is the fact that they have so much going on within it: draw, burst, solo, rebirth, self-harm (combo if you include Twin Fang), grow, and ramp (among possible others). Not saying that that is a bad thing, but I feel that it would be difficult to cater to so many different archetype’s need with each expansion. A rework could help CPG define what archetypes they want to be most prevalent in the faction, and change cards and keywords to have better synergy with Starhorn (currently, he only has 3 cards that has direct synergy with his BBS, and the only one seeing play is a neutral card).


@akurane Good explanation, thanks!


Are you kidding? Not only draw a card but mess up the opponent’s? I really don’t think you appreciate how rage-inducing this effect would be. Not fair, not fun.


I fully agree with you. I am personaly a Zir’an main. I have won over 300 games with her and much more was lost. The problem with Zir’an is that her BBS does not support healyonar archtype as you need an insane setup to get healing proc of her BBS. A minion on board is immensly hard to get. So i mostly rely on other cards o get my healing synergy going like mystics and sundrop elixirs.

While they print better “When something is heald” cards, those cards are not what Zir’an can abuse more that Argeon can. I win my games because i am Lyonar, not because i am Zir’an. Zir’an’s BBS does not suuport your ability to go to late game or to mitigate damage dealt to your general. You need additional cards to live to those turns where you can summon big minions( while playing big minions is already an insane risk) and all that i do while choosing Zir’an as a general is telegraphing to my opponent that im playing healyonar, that has the same weakness as tempo, but does not have tempo tools. You might find yourself replacing several “if heal” cards in a row just beacuse you dont have an activator as Zir’an.

I am dreaming about her BBS being able to target your general to make “anti-aggro” alternative. I really believe that this could lead to Zir’ans on tournaments and in S rank.


Starhorn isnt situational it has drawback,The only bbs with negative attach to it.

Kara isn’t situational either it is just weak now requiring to find the right minion to play.Basically you have find minion weaker than your turn that is worth using other than Kron and Jax trusight they are to many of those.


(was being sarcastic) oh I DO know I just thought cp was going to that direction. Had a magmar player his first and second move entropic gaze me. I love me some magmar but they are getting into songhai levels of annoyance now.

Personal Tier Lists

Sad thing about these confused Generals (except Ziran?) is that Mechazor! decks work with them better than any of the in-faction synergy CPG has been pushing.

Conserning Ziran, I think the meta is holding her back more than anything.
Kaleos ‘could’ work with more movement based effects
Sajj can be fixed with more artifact synergy (and Concealing Shroud should have been a Vet card imo)

For the future I’m only really worried about…

…Kara, who needs a buff (+2/+2 to a single minion?)

And Starhorn is ruining Magmar


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