What is the objective for "aggressive" statted minions?


Let’s say on you have an opponent that will have always 4 drop that’s common - say a Brightmoss Golem. And you can rely on him to always play that card on 4 mana.

You have the choice of using the 6/4 Thorn Needler or the 4/6 Hailstone Golem.

A Hailstone Golem can attack the Brightmoss Golem for 4 damage and live to deal another 4 damage.
Total damage = 8

The Thorn Needler, while on paper is “stronger”, deals 6 damage to Brightmoss once, and dies.
Total damage = 6

So the question is, why would you ever play Thorn Needler? What deck archetype is this minion (and similar statted minions at different mana costs) good for? Is it really “aggressively” statted even though it deals less damage than Hailstone Golem overall?


It’s just one of those cards. It isn’t played for the exact reason you pointed out.
Health in Duelyst is far, FAR more valuable than Attack. Take Arctic Displacer for example, it isn’t played in any except some weird cheesy Kara, + Hearthsister/Iceblade Dryad + Huldra OTK decks.
Why? 'cause it’s 10/4, by the time you summon it, I will more than likely have a minion that can trade into it to kill it. Since I’m a Vet player, Falcius is an incredibly clean answer to this card.
Health increases survivability, and the longer something survives, the more damage it’ll get to do, hence why Hailstone Golem is considered a very solid 4-drop while Thorn Needler is not recommended even in started budget decks for new players.


Right - thanks for the confirmation. So these high damage, low health cards require more supplementary cards then? Ergo, more expensive decks to toy with them?


You would play Thorn Needler in order to:

  • deal more damage in a single action – on the assumption it will get removed before it can act again (burst is good)
  • trade up into a Spectral Revenant, as opposed to dying to it without killing it in return, removing a 7-cost card with a 4-cost card and thus gaining tempo,
  • Remove Shadow Sister Keilani now as opposed to next turn, by which Cass will have gained 5 more HP from her.

There are a lot of cases in which each minion is better than the other; it depends largely on what the opponent is playing. The HP-slanted minions tend to be popular because the one thing you can always count on is the enemy General having 2 attack (at least, at first), but not because in the general case they are numerically superior.


Arctic displacer is a fairly bad example as Falcius is definitely not a clean answer to it. The card has airdrop and the way you will see it utilized is played in a far corner and then moved in with hearth sister or icevlade dryad to attack on the following turn, making its low health total much less of an issue. You don’t really need a cheesy deck to make this happen because aside from arctic displacer itself all these cards are good on their own.


Aggressively statted doesn’t necessarily mean having more attack than health. It’s just a minion that you put in front which is able to trade with multiple other minions. It also depends on the effect the minion has.

Spelljammer is a good example. Its 3 mana 2/4 but due to the nature of how the card works you want to put it in front so it trades and dies so your enemy doesn’t benefit from the card draw. It having 4 hp means it will usually take a general and a 2 drop hit to kill it, leaving the 2 drop on 1 hp, which is more important than leaving the 2 drop on full hp and the enemy general taking 4 damage as if it were attacking Void Hunter for example.

Talking of Void Hunter, Blaze Hound is more aggressively statted than it precisely because it doesn’t die to one general hit but requires more resources to get rid of.

Another good example is Shieldmaster. It’s a 4 drop which you slam in aggressively to trade with all the enemy 2 drops and even higher drops. 3 attack is enough to kill most 2 and 3 drops and having 6 defense and provoke means enemy is forced to deal with it, usually in a sub par way.

If we’re talking about aggressive cards that have more attack than health, the best example is probably Dioltas. Specifically in Lyonar, you really don’t want to kill it on your own turn because enemy will get the tombstone which can just hit you for 20 the following turn. So it’s usually safe for Lyonar to just put the card in front, and if it dies, whatever, if it doesn’t, it has potential to clear a pretty large minion.

It all depends on the context. Now, I might be wrong in the way I see things but this is how I got to interpret it. I see aggressive statted minions as ones you can just slam down in front forcing the enemy to make bad trades which results in you getting tempo and eventually winning of it.

When it comes to minions with higher attack then defense in the vacuum, they’re usually just not good because they tend to trade 1 for 1 which isn’t worth it even if the minion you’re trading for is higher cost. And if you want to use them for hitting face, they’re still not necessarily good because after doing such they’re on even lower hp and even easier to deal with, where you’d rather have less face damage but decently sized minion on the board remaining. But again, this is just vacuum and things can work differently in actual context.


Thanks. Your example of spelljammer is well said. I’m actually going to play this card differently from now on.


I just noticed the post had shit ton of typos and missing words since I was typing it so fast. It’s good a thing you understood anything lmao.


Puh. I would rethink this.
Spelljammer isn’t an card that you play automatically at “the front”. It’s a highly flexible hand filler. As Kara for example you want almost always have one on board - so you play it defensively while not pushed with her BBS.
So the question for the best moment you go offensive with it hasn’t always the same answer. (Not only in Kara decks.)