Understanding Terminology Better


Taking from @paralykeet
"Duelyst has the 6 major archetypes present (Aggro, Control, Midrange, Combo, Tempo and Ramp.)"

I’ve heard of them all and understand most, but was more wondering as how one can distinguish between, say, a control vs midrange deck, or an aggro vs a tempo deck, or aggro vs combo. How much overlap/blending might there be? The aggro vs tempo one makes me wonder the most.

Card examples greatly appreciated. :slight_smile:

What is Midrange?

Some of these are very clear cut.

If your deck revolves around getting high cost cards out ahead of curve, it is a ramp deck. Ramp cards include things like Slo, Darkfire Sacrifice, Lurking Fear, Crystal Wisp and more. Your deck can contain ramp cards without making it a ramp deck, however. Common examples are Flash Reincarnation, Mana Vortex and Slo.

Aggro decks are also obvious. Lots of face damage, lots of out of hand damage, hitting the opponent with your general every turn if possible. Cards like Entropic Gaze and Saberspine Tiger are common.

Control decks build around a ton of removal, and a later curve. Their design is to outlast your opponent and answer every card they put down, eventually winning with a lategame card like Obliterate or Meltdown. Common control cards are generally removal cards like Martyrdom, Punish etc.

Combo decks are decks that revolve around a single game winning combo, and generally stall out or control until the combo is in hand. They are almost always gimmicky and inconsistent. They include a ton of things such as Quartermaster Gauj + Aegis Barrier or Arcane Devourer + Blood Taura.

Tempo and Midrange are the fuzziest of these deck types, and also the most flexible.

A tempo deck is a deck with an early curve that depends on using the mana tiles and high quality 4 drops to get more value out of your plays in the early game than your opponent. What this means is dealing with your opponent’s threats while playing your own in a very mana efficient manner. Common side effects are a low hand. Powerful tempo cards include Draining Wave and high value 4 drops like Sunsteel Defender.

A midrange deck plays through minions, keeping your opponent close but not close enough to hit you aggressively. You win the game by playing at a medium range from your enemy, as the name implies. Wincon is usually minion smacking, sometimes things like Divine Bond. Common cards are sticky minions like Sunsteel Defender or Azurite Lion.

Hope this helps. Any further questions?


Aggro lists try to win as fast as possible, and include cards the can hit face even if behind on board. Aggro decks will eventually run out of cards or lose board presence if they fail to win in time. Typical aggro cards are Flameblood, Bone Swarm, Repulsor Beast, any rush minion, Tectonic Spikes, Blaze Hound. Deck example:

Tempo decks want to dominate the board and snowball to victory. Getting rid of enemy minions efficiently is very important. Typical tempo cards are Dancing Blades, Falcius, Arclyde Sentinel, Primus Fist, Sunsteel Defender.

Midrange decks sacrifice some of the early game power of tempo decks for a late game wincondition, like divine bond, Razorjax or Meltdown. A good Midrange deck can both stall against tempo and aggro and be quick against control.

Combo decks are very synergistic and try to pull of some combo that will very likely win the game if succesful. Mirror Meld Songhai (and to a lesser extend Spellhai and Backstabhai) and Artifact Vet are prime examples. I did my best with Lyonar:

Control decks stall the game as long as possible and aim to eventually outvalue or grind down the opponent. Creep Cassyva is a good example of a control archetype.

Ramp lists try play a big threat early in the game with cards like Darkfire Sacrifice, Flash Reincarnation or Crystal Wisps. They are generally more proactive than control decks but more draw dependent. I can’t make a Lyonar example for this one I’m afraid, but think Variax.


From my experience, mid-range refers to the cost and pace of the game, not actual positioning. For example, you would use stronger 3-5 cost creatures, with the end game focused on bursting that last bit of HP instead of maintaining board control. Midrange is like a hybrid between aggro and tempo.


Oh really? Huh, I’ve never heard it that way. I suppose they’re fairly similar.

  • Cancer - Your decks.
  • Skill - What I use to win.
  • Cheese - What I lose to.


The first one isn’t wrong.


i could be wrong but aren’t aggro and tempo basically the same?


Nope. Aggro is about burning their face off, tempo is about value plays and early board control. Two very different things.


Aggro : Non stop destroy your face ASAP. Example decks include Faice and Aggro Reva, cards include Saberspine Tiger and Flameblood Warlock

Tempo : Wants to gain board momentum and use it to bash your face in. Uses solid value cards to gain and keep momentum. Decks include Tempo Lyonar. Cards include Bloodtear Alchemist, AoE card.

Midrange : Kinda half way between Aggro and Tempo, keeps up momentum and wails on you down to a small bit of hp left and then bursts it away. Decks include Midrange Lyonar, most Vetruvian Obelysk decks also tend to be rather midrangey in their playstyle.

Combo : Relies on a specific set of cards that combo to create a high damage output that finishes the game that turn, preceding turns are usually light control and chip damage with heavy draw power. Decks include Meldhai and ArtiVet. Cards include Mirror Meld, Auroras Tears, Time Maelstrom, Spelljammer, Heaven’s Eclipse.

Control : Slowest playstyle, aims to control board through very efficient removal spells and AoE while also delaying with high healing power until they’ve exhausted most of their opponents resources at which point they begin to crush you with heavy minion after heavy minion. Decks include Control Magmar(haven’t seen that one in a while), Control Faie, some slowet variants of Healyonar. Cards include Thumping Wave, Enfeeble, Plasma Storm, Sundrop Elixir, Punish, Silithar Elder, Variax, Nosh-rak, Meltdown.

Ramp : Aims to cheat big minions out by reducing their cost. Decks include Bigbyssian(only variant I’ve seen be nearly successful, not sure if Rampmar is any good). Cards include Darkfire Sacrifice, Flash Reincarnation, Arcane Devourer, Spectral Revenant, Silithar Elder, Vorpal Reaver.


I’m shocked to not see magnetize in that lyonar combo list. It’s the combo card.


It feels like everyone’s answer of what Midrange is slightly different haha


Can you or someone rough up a quick example of what a aggro backstab deck may look like? And then that compared to a tempo backstab deck?


backstab should be a bit combo based deck so it needs at least some tempo and can’t be aggro.


It’s kind of difficult to fit Songhai into those categories. Aggro Songhai is definitely a thing, with low cost backstab minions and low cost movement/damage spells, combining all of these for quick and often out of hand burst damage.

Tempo Songhai isn’t really a thing, because Songhai has no powerful tempo plays. Backstab is really an archetype of its own, so worry about your deck as a backstab deck rather than your deck as a tempo/aggro deck.


In an aggro deck you don’t care about your board you go face like for example magmar. With songhai you try to keep your backstab minion alive and away waiting for the right moment (tempo) to most likely OTK or deal lot of damage or have some good trade (backstab trading). So it’s not really aggro.


Hmm. Interesting. I recently just built up this deck.

Idea is handling the first turn or two through BTA, Maw and/or PF, developing dmg through blaze hound, ki and whip, leaving katara and/or KE as finishers.

How would one describe this deck? I was thinking tempo or midrange, hence the OP.


I’d say tempo, although it does end in a burn phase. Bloodtear and Maw are powerfully tempo, but setting up backstab units and dropping a bunch of cards for huge damage is very bursty.


Any critiques on it is more than welcome too, though people always mention cards I don’t have :expressionless:


There are some very good explanations up above, but there is another way to sort of tell. Based on how your General trades into the board you can gauge the aggressiveness of the deck. Keep in mind these are about as far as you can get from being set in stone, just something to help put meaning to the words.

If you are prioritize hitting the enemy General you are aggro.
If you do a mix, with slightly more focus on board control you are midrange or tempo
If you don’t attack the enemy general at all until you have a sizable lead you are a slightly lategame focused midrange/tempo
If you don’t attack the general at all unless they have absolutely no board presence you are some sort of control.

Healing is also more important the more later your focus is. If you are aggro you might run Healing Mystics or something but for midrange/control you are going to want some healing minions as well as any in faction options you have.