What if other factions have Variax-Like Effects?


Abyssian has quickly grown to my most played faction this season and it is not hard to see why. While it is now he most competitive faction, I find their style to be the most enjoyable primariely due to their ability to go infinite. Specifically, Grandmaster Variax gives them the ability to sustain value indefinitely without paying cards. I could rush the opponent down, and probably get a higher win rate because of it, but are the Abyssian really so merciful as to end the lives of their prey quickly?

Certain cards, like Silithar Elder and Storm Kage may be able to compete with Variax in terms of Value, but they are weak to removal while Variax is not. This, coupled with their generous heals, makes Abyssian the undisputed monarch of the late game. So, I wondered, what if other factions had cards like Variax that altered the way that the game was played in the late game? Variax fundamentally alters the way Duelyst is played in the lategame by changing the definition of “value.” After Variax is played, it all but invalidates all stat sticks, and cards that restore health or deal direct damage are far more valuable. The game becomes a war of attrition and survival and the role of each card is fundamentally altered, which is a really cool effect. Counterplay has stated before that they want matches to have a narrative; a clear beginning, middle, and end, yet almost all decks end with the same generic “then-they-all-die-to-be-continued” ending. What if other factions can indirectly change game rules in the lategame?

My ideas:

Strategos Demetrius
7 mana, Lyonar minion
Opening gambit: every card you play gains an extra effect

Minions: +2/+2 and provoke
Spell: restore 3 health to your general
Artifact: +1 attack and prevent the first 1 damage each turn

The Phoenix
8 mana, Songhai minion
5/8 flying
Opening gambit: add Eternal Blaze to your hand
Dying wish: summon Ember Spirit

Eternal Blaze
2 mana, spell
Deal 5 damage to a minion, restore 2 health to your general. At the end of your turn, return this card to your hand

Ember Spirit
2 mana, minion
3/3 ranged, Dying wish: return this to your hand

9 mana, Vetruvian Spell
Remake your general with two abilities of your choice


  • gain flying and blast
  • gain “restore 3 health to your general at the end of each turn”
  • gain “draw an extra card at the end of each of your turns”
  • gain “destroy any minion that damages your general”
  • give your general +3/+8
  • upgrade your BBS to a 2 cost one
  • (Zirix: Summon two soulburn obelisks)
  • (Sajj: Summon a 5/5 scion with the same abilities as target minion or general)

Paarnax the Visionary
9 mana, Magmar minion
Opening gambit: replace your hand and deck with AWSOME cards

AWSOME cards:

  • Amalgamation: 4 mana 6/6, frenzy, flying
  • Juggernaut: 7 mana, 7/7 rush, rebirth
  • Pseudogenic Recall: 2 mana, draw 2 cards
  • Annihilate: 6 mana, destroy all minions
  • Second Instar: 3 mana, restore 5 health, draw a card
  • Ecological Climax: 9 mana, summon 3 Silithar elders

Glory of the Nine Realms
7 mana, Vanar spell
Place 4 portals on select spaces

(tile effect)
Effect varies depending on characters on it

  • if a friendly character is on it, restore 3 health to it at the beginning of your turn
  • if an enemy character is on it, deal 3 damage to them at the beginning of your turn
  • if no characters are on it, summon a 4/5 on it at the beginning of your turn

Of course, this is all just speculation and I do not expect any effect similar to these to make it into the game (except for the Vetruvian one. The Vetruvian one seems in line with their lore, with the emphasis on the melding and being remade, and Vetruvian is in dire need of more power)

edit: balance


These are really cool ideas but your nerdyness shows through in the names :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
I think it’s cool, the names could be changed but that’s more personal preference.


the minion effect for lyonar seems a little OP for EVERY minion to get forcefield, provoke, and +2/2
some combination of the two would be better. at least with variax it only triggers when you pay mana. unlike variax summoning the endless legions, this makes what you have indomitable and unbreakable.

songhai on the contrary seems very control oriented despite the game already going on for so long. it basically lets songhai dump their hand without fear of running out of cards… while still having minions or spells as pieces for various combos. though it doesn’t really help close out games if you don’t rely on combos or have already used the pieces of that combo. all in all, its a reva card that kaleos doesnt benefit much from.

vetruvian is actually pretty nice what with their “melding ceremony” but right now the game doesnt support such decision making. i would also make the upgraded BBS 3 mana because 1:obelysks cost >2 mana, even if its an awesome ability with low health obelysks and 2: a 5/5 with abilities is way better than a 1/1 with +4/4, especially if you can copy something like a revenant or aymara

magmar seems OP as hell and there is no point in making a deck that can win when you just need to stall for this OP mofo. something like what you gave songhai might actually be more thematically magmar than replacing their entire deck for something new. maybe something like this
7 mana 7/5 opening gambit: every friendly minion and general gains "at the end of each players turn, summon a random egg nearby"
while still OP, it is still magmar and can even bring out egg synergy. and since it spawns at the end of your opponents turn as well, it is impossible to smash all the eggs before they hatch. its possible to kill all the minions with this effect and dispel the general, but by then the damage will have been done and they could always just play another one.

vanar seems like something that should be vetruvian or songhai what with portals and realms in the name. you dont need to specify “your next turn” because its a continuous effect that triggers on every beginning of your turn. its ironically weak to chromatic cold and your opponent playing this card, and i think the wording is too long to fit on the card. since you probably want the bodies over the heals, it would work if you cut the healing ability that portals dont usually have anyways. perhaps something like this
portal : deal three damage to the space and summon a 4/5 einherjar
that way, if an enemy unit with less than 3 health sits there, it still dies and you still get the body
or if they have a repulsor beast, hearth sister or mesmerize, they could force your own units to take damage and block the spawn. you could also drop the cost to maybe 6-7 mana. it makes positioning 10 times more important.


hahaHAHaha… This is not even my final form! :grin:

Besides, these names are positively well known compared to some other CCG card names, my favourite being an Elder Dragon named after a bumbling father from the Roman adaptation of an ancient Greek Comedy.


Like I said, these designs are not so much balanced designed that could exist in the game right now, but possible future types of effects that could spice up the lategame (universal deck buff, OP tiles, replace the deck with OP cards, etc.) I’ll rework my suggestions with your feedback in mind and keep improving them.


This is the reason im all for not nerfing variaxx


IMO Variax is more like an ability upgrade, so for example:


Warbird (Awesome), Deal 2 Damage to everything on the enemy General’s Row and Column


Spotted the Abyssian player.


How dare you, i am a proud son of aymara.


Appreciating cool effects has nothing to do with faction bias. Abyssian and Songhai are my least played factions, and i still want Variax to either stay the way he is or only be cost/statnerfed if it has to be.


Nerds rule dawg, the names should be kept


personally, the vanar one seems really weak for 9 mana when abbysian can get an arguably better effect for 7 mana with a body. i really like the rest of them though


I think adding cards like that to the other factions would be the best way to solve the Variax problem. Your ideias are very interesting, I think the Lyonar one is probably too strong and the Vanar too weak, but all in all I liked the effects, even tho some of them would be kinda hard to implement.


While the idea seems fun i’d rather have no such abilities at all.
What they do is essentially increase value you get for each mana point a few times so the previous cards can’t compete and the one who gets his improved cards first has quite a big advantage over the other, it would make games less about skill/positioning and more about who draws particular card first and manages to play it first.



The thing about cards like Variax is that they essentially make you sacrifice a turn to make your lategame more powerful. Any aggro or mid game deck worth their salt will be able to capitalize on a 7 mana turn that did nothing to directly impact the board. Chances are, most players will not play decks with cards like these in favour of quicker strategies. Even if cards like these were implemented, control decks still will not become dominant. These are merely suggestions that could make control decks in other factions compete with the current control Abyssian, which while powerful, does not break the meta.

Even the current Control Abyssian mirrors are not completely determined by who gets Variax first. I have had several victories against decks that ramped out Variax before me while I was playing a Control Abyssian with Variax


I wouldn’t call a 7/7 body no impact. Opponent still needs to deal with it or he gets 7 to the face or it removes his stronges minion next turn at the least.
Unless you already have lethal and can just kill him, but atleast in my case i’m not near the lethal 90% of the time. Some manage to play it as fast as 4-5 mana turn, not sure how is it even possible to be near lethal at that point, or play something faster than this. You need a very lucky draw and or a very bad opponent to be near lethal that fast as far as i saw.

I don’t have access to a comp for a couple of days now but when i did play, upper diamond was 50-70% abbysians so i would say it was meta defining quite alot. I will have to look at some replays when i get home, maybe i’m missing something. So far i just autoconceded when i saw it played, not worth the pain trying to struggle against inevitable doom.

If they manage to make this balanced and not too opressive in terms you play that or you just die situations it could be a nice to have i guess. Definitely as an alternative mode or if it had some kind of quest attached to it that you needed to complete something on the board to be allowed to play it and the opponent had an opportunity to deny this by blocking the quest requirements.


that’s the problem though. it gets value NEXT TURN, key words there. yes, a 7/7 is pretty threatening but it gets removed by the abundance of cheap answers or is just ignored to push 14+ face damage in a single turn cough rancour cough elucidator *cough decimus cough


Those, all are magmar and only one has rush. Elucidator combo is also 7 mana for only 10 damage so if he played variax on 5 mana turn and you barelly have 5-6 mana to work with, good luck dealing 14 damage from hand. If you have strong board and he just stays in range of your minions while playing variax he did a horrible missplay and deserved a loss. You can’t just assume abyssian players will always play horribly bad and balance accordingly. In upper diamond/s-rank they just don’t make mistakes like those…

Again this could be alternative game mode or maybe if they would buff aggro decks so you have relyable way to win around 5 mana turn without your opponent making many mistakes it could be reasonable to have those cards as they would be actually hard to use. Atleast make them like 9 mana plays only not 5 mana. It would be reasonable too.


i didn’t say out of hand burst. if you’re using your turn to make a beefy minion and nothing else, odds are your opponent has minions on the board. and as we probably all know, a single rancour or decimus on the board can do insane amounts of damage. and thise are just examples from magmar. lyonar has db. songhai is songhai. tbh, vet can’t do much about it :frowning: and vanar can just shroud for turn after turn and wear you down. yes, the card is good, but it’s not very fast


I seem to have found the root of this confusion. It seems that we are referring to completely different games! Up in mid-S-rank, aggro decks dominate and control decks are left behind. If anything, the Bloodborn Expansion sped the game up, with aggro Magmar and a buff to Tempo Lyonar.

What? I thought that you wanted the game to be less a “who draws their win condition first” contest. Three turn games are just silly and invalidate almost every card 4 mana and above. This would make the game an aggro-fest, with no room for any long-term strategies. If anything, Duelyst needs more ways for slower decks to stretch the game until the 7-9 mana turn. I don’t know what game you have been playing, but it certainly is not the same game as the Duelyst that I have been playing.

Personally, I have a roughly 50% winrate against turn 5 Variax played by other, S-ranked, players. It’s not as difficult as you make it seem. Even if you just burst them down to 12-15, you still have a fighting chance and can finish them off later.

I have managed to beat 5 mana Variax in S or Diamond with all factions except Songhai (my second most played faction, but it didn’t really get any exciting new cards). The card is only overpowered if it is played early on. If you play it on the 7 mana turn, it does not so much win you the game on the spot, but put a timer on your opponent to defeat you before you get too much value. However, nearly all decks are fast enough to have a chance at this.

This creates a problem since, right now, all other slow decks are crushed by Abyssian with Variax. My suggestions are meant to give other factions a fighting chance in control matches against Abyssian.