Fist off, I am sorry this got so delayed. Since the game is not getting updated I did not set myself a deadline, and since I was gunning for 20 unique authors unlike previous installments, well, it didn’t get done as quickly as I had hoped. So sorry to anyone who was wondering where on earth this had gotten to. At any rate, I do hope you enjoy what has been put together, since it will probably be a year or more until the next one I really wanted something that could stand for that time. So though I don’t agree with some of the ordering or how some great deck that didn’t make the cut, I do think this is worth a read for anyone wondering what the Duelyst meta looks like. A huge thanks to everyone who contributed, I think it has made this a very very useful resource for Duelyst. I hope you readers agree.
Actually a lot has happened since the previous installment of a Power Rankings, but just in relation to Duelyst I wanted to thank Chuqwerty for making this site, congratulate Reapers for winning last Team Wars, Spammernoob on gaining the Grandmaster title and Meziljie for winning the Meltdown League (that you may see referred to in a couple of the writeups as MDL). If you want to get involved in the competitive scene that is hanging on in Duelyst I think I am okay to offer an invite Link to the Meltdown discord: https://discord.gg/6fA9XKB
For those that don’t know, the Power Rankings is not a tier list where placements can be dictated by how decks perform against other specific top decks, but are instead an aggregated opinion of a number of different S rank/tournament players based on their own metrics. These could be influenced by those match-ups, how ‘meta’ a deck is and more as it’s up to each voter how they rate the decks. As a result there can be some inconsistencies, but once the numbers are averaged it usually paints a fairly accurate picture of the strong decks and the meta.
We know you are going to disagree with some of the rankings and points we make because internally we have already disagreed with each other by ranking decks differently. Also due to a fair delay between when results were polled and published I’m sure some will have changed their minds also. But please enjoy the rankings for what they are: a great opportunity to examine the meta and the diverse opinions that can come out of Duelyst’s ladder.
Additionally this time I took a survey of the wider community. A small shoutout to Burn Faie that you guys collectively ranked #15, but did not fare so well with our panel of S rankers & tourney participants. But actually, a lot of the results lined up and if/when I do this again I’d consider how I might again use this, as it seemed my initial survey had too many options that turned a lot of people of from completing it. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas for any aspect of the Power Rankings that you think could be improved, I try hard to listen to feedback, but may not always hit the mark.
Take care and make sure to have fun. I hope to see you around!
Table of Contents
Aggro Vetruvian #20
Average Rating: 19
Highest Rating: 13
Lowest Rating: 25
Community Rating: 21
While Aggro Zirix can be a powerful general to take the offensive role with along with his obelysks and dervish synergies, Aggro Sajj excels at giving his or her pilot many really powerful ways to easily gain early board leads that can easily transition into oppressive pushes for the win.
Playing around how powerful Blood of Air and Sandswirl Readers are at deleting single threats while giving you massive tempo, Aggro Sajj is built to keep your opponent’s board empty while you develop little but impactful immediate-effect minions that will threaten your opponent’s life total to a point that, going into your 5 to 8 mana turns, there’s no chance of any comeback.
Bloodtear Alchemist, Bone Swarm, Ankh and Rasha’s Curse will give you cheap ways to take down whatever your opponent plays and gain that early lead you are meant to take, while the aggressive golem package will serve you out phenomenally to generate snowbally boards and refill your hand. Remember that, if they have no board to contest them, your Wind Strikers and the Staff they give you will be super valuable! Don’t worry about Dreamshaper’s Bond, as, with the huge amount of early plays you’ll have at your reach, you won’t have any kind of problem holding them while you still progress in your game plan. As you reach your 5 mana turns, simply delete or bounce back everything your opponent throws at you, or just kill multiple threats with your cheap tools and your BBS! And if you reach the later turns of 7 and 8 mana, BoA along with Bone Swarms or Primus Fists, Sandswirl Readers along any 2 drop, or Accumulonimbus + Fireblace Obelysk will be the icing on the cake that will seal the matchups where your opponents refuse to go down.
Midrange Vanar #19
Average Rating: 17.1
Highest Rating: 9
Lowest Rating: 24
Community Rating: 24
I choose Faie because you can either stall the game and win through warbird or play razorback and burn them out. You can also combo Faie with hearth sister as removal. I believe this deck has good matchups against every deck i can think of when piloted properly. Luminous charge can solo carry against every deck in the meta. Card is nuts.
Gravity Well, Luminous Charge- walls stall and can be deadly with razorback. Proper wall positioning is crucial to winning with this deck. If you fail to position walls correctly you will fail playing this.
Hailstone Prison- Best vanar removal. It destroys trials. Especially Wanderer. It is also just really good tempo overall.
Basilisk- helps against spell heavy decks. I also have Magesworn sideboarded in MDL. Replace G Well, Hailstone, and Razorback with Aspect of the Thunderhorn and Magesworns.
Jammer- It was between this and Bloodbound Mentor. This draws cards more consistently, though the 3 drop can be crucial some games. It’s up to you I think.
Cloudcaller- Good tempo and removal, devastating when you’re ramped ahead of your opponent.
Mountains- Good removal and tempo. Works well with our under-statted minions. Can be used to transform Mal Wisp and end the game if your opponent is a brainlet.
Enfeeble- Originally this was to stop all build player cheese on ladder but it works as another activator for walls instead of skorn.
Seraphim- Our deck is heavy, can also cheese with Spirit of the Wild sideboard.
Sometimes the deck struggles being proactive. You have a lot of removal and can brick your hand sometimes. Smart replaces are necessary. Early game you are looking to play your wisps and not fall too far behind on board. If you are behind enfeeble or a good mountains can help catch up, but i wouldn’t count on it. Luminous walls are a threat. Play them when you think your opponent wants to AoE. If your opponent doesn’t clear them, you can one shot anyone with razorback.
Average Rating: 17.1
Highest Rating: 9
Lowest Rating: 24
Community Rating: 20
Shidai mantra may be easily the easiest deck to play at times or the hardest. While some hands may possibly decide the fate of the game in the beginning. The deck revolves around collecting key cards like Eight gates, Mantra, Phoenix fire, and Abjudicator in order to finish the opponent before they can play their win condition.
Mantra also has amplified clears against swarm, OBS for big units, and a reliable draw engine (Gotatsu, Jammer, BBS). Pretty much a heavy counter to almost all meta decks, while being countered by only two cards (Magesworn and Prophet of the White Palm). Both cards are not heavily used in the meta which is why this deck is so viable and rewarding to play if you do manage to OTK.
Dying Wish #17
Average Rating: 16.9
Highest Rating: 8
Lowest Rating: 24
Community Rating: 25
Dying Wish Maehv is arguably the strongest abyssian deck thanks to its ability to create massive boards with a relatively small set up.
Lurking Fear and Carrion Collector are the heart of deck; they allow you to consistently ramp all your minions permanently so when you stack two or more ramps the deck becomes a real powerhouse. Playing three or even more 4 drops in a turn, maybe mixed with Azure Horn Shaman and its op interaction with Maehvs bbs will often gives you a game winning board swing. It also runs a good amount of single target removals (Lure and Caco+bbs/Rebirth) and AoE (Gnasher and Chakram) making any midrange deck a pretty favourable match up.
This version has a low curve and a lot of card draw (Void Hunter/Nekomata/Rite of the undervault) to keep up in those games when you dont find an early ramp or when you go in the late game. It also has a better match up against vetruvian that usually eats slower builds with Vorpal/Rot9m for breakfast. Overall the deck doesn’t really have bad match ups but keep in mind your BBS and sellsoul deal damage to your face so be careful with them against aggro/burn decks!
Aggro Abyssian #16
Average Rating: 16.2
Highest Rating: 8
Lowest Rating: 24
Community Rating: 19
Aggro Cass is probably one of the more versatile aggro decks that is out there. But being versatile, doesn’t mean being outright powerful. While my own version of the Aggro Cass deck has more spells than what most people would put in. It allows the deck to help cover against swarm style decks such as Hyperswarm Lilithe and Brome Strategos with the help of Grasp of Agony, Daemonic Lure and Spectral Blade, as well as later game decks that usually want to have they general close to they own minions around the 6 mana point such as Ragnora Wanderer, Agreon Titan, Build Magmar, Brome Strategos, with Betrayal.
Although the deck can have burst potential with Void Pulse, Grasp of Agony, Flameblood Warlock, Dark Seed and Betrayal experienced players who come up against this deck are able to play around these burst damage cards with good positioning, managing their hand size, or by simply healing, which many of the higher tier decks will do the latter. While the short falls of the deck come in with the lack of good 2 mana and 3 mana cost minions within the Abyssian faction to support the archetype further, and choosing which cards to cut out of the deck. As depending which cards you choose to keep out of the deck weakens the deck against certain matchups. A few examples of alternative cards that can be placed into Aggro Cass include; Desolator, Shadow Reflection, Bloodtear Alchemist, Saberspine Tiger, Saberspine Alpha, Dioltas, plus more. However, due to being versatile means you can change the deck to help suit matchups for your own rank’s meta, which in my opinion can make it a solid, but not spectacular choice of deck to climb ranked with.
Ebon Ox #15
Average Rating: 16.2
Highest Rating: 13
Lowest Rating: 21
Community Rating: 16
Ebon Ox is a deck that took a while for people to take seriously. Its trial is very hard to complete, but its destiny is one of the most powerful late game win conditions. I have been playing ox seriously ever since I saw Munkbuisness win a tournament with it back in May 2018. Ox has been my main deck ever since and I have brought it with success into tournaments myself (MDL and team wars).
Ox is for sure a minion-based deck, so you are quite limited in the number of spells you can run in order to be able to complete your trial with consistency. Your curve needs to be very equal around the board or you will find yourself struggling to find the minion you need to complete your trial. Your curve should also be quite heavier than most decks so that once you complete your trial, you have expensive minions to play to fully take advantage of your destiny effect.
As I mentioned before, including spells really interferes with the deck space. Some well constructed decks don’t even have a single spell to guarantee a minion draw every time. Good spell options are juxtaposition and assassination protocol as they will help gain board advantage. I recommend not having more than 3 total spells in your deck.
The strongest general for Ox is Kaleos. Kaleos lets you take advantage of your minions the most by either playing them defensively to protect them or by playing them as body blockers for your general and then have them move into position to attack. Reva is also playable, but the Heartseeker does not do that much. You are not going to play your bbs much in the early game where the heartseeker shines the most. Shidai should be avoided unless you are going for something fun and less competitive.
Auto includes: Battle Panddo, Eternity Painter, EMP and Bloodtear Alchemyst
Tech options: Magesworn, Lightbender, Crossbones, Red Synja
Cards to avoid: Golden Matella, Scroll Bandit, Spell Jammer
Budget Options: Saberspine Alpha, Rakushi, Dust Wailer, Primus Shieldmaster
Your main objective while playing Ox is to eliminate the opponent’s threats, clear their board and artifacts. It is more important for you to clear their board than to develop one of your own because of your powerful win condition. In most scenarios while playing Ox, you are not the aggressor. That means you should not be trading general health freely. A very key part of this deck is replacing. You should replace minions from mana costs you have already played or have in your action bar. You want to plan your action bar as many turns in advance as you can with the main idea of playing one card per turn advancing your trial progression. Once you have a bit of board presence and are near to complete trial, you will want to try and back off and body block. Once your trial is completed, you can play very powerful effects do deal with your opponent’s minions and deal face damage. It was important to keep your opponent’s minions to a minimum to maximise the chances of your minions dealing face damage. Opening gambits become very powerful because they will trigger before the minion is summoned and deals its damage, giving you more control over where their damage is dealt. Aoe effects are also very powerful letting you deal damage to both the enemy general and his minions. Per example, Thunderhorn will deal damage to a target at random and anything connected to that target in a chain effect as it does when it attacks. Also, Ash Mephyt summons 3 minions of 5 cost each, meaning it will deal 3 times 5 damage to random targets when entering the board. This effect cannot stack onto a minion if it is already dead, making it very powerful.
Ox is a very good deck all around but has some very hard matchups to win. The hardest ones are the matchups where your opponent has a deck that can generate huge amounts of board value in the late game like Fault and Alabaster Titan. Also decks that don’t care about developing a board are also very hard to win against like Control Vaath or Firestorm Mantra.
Average Rating: 14.7
Highest Rating: 4
Lowest Rating: 23
Community Rating: 12
0/10 buildings are difficult to remove by themselves, but their synergy with the likes of Magmar ramp and Progenitor borders on the absurd. No other deck can put as much stats on the board during the opening two turns as Buildmar, overwhelming anything short of Plasma Storm (indeed, sometimes even outracing it). Curving Gigaloth into Time Keeper is absolutely devastating; capable of ending matches as early as 5 mana with proper play. Longer game? No problem. Reliquarian or Bounded Lifeforce provide more than enough oomph to close out games so long as you have any semblance of a board.
Alas, the deck is not without weaknesses. All tyrants fall, and this deck is no exception. Player one openers sans cheese can be quite difficult, and puts excessive reliance on Lava Lance to recover. Poor match-ups against fellow Magmar archetypes are further detriments. Limited pings allow rippers to shred structures with impunity, while all variants of Vaath run multiple copies of Natural Selection and Plasma Storm — kryptonite for 0/10s.
That said, be not dissuaded, prospective architect. This deck will more than pull its weight on ladder, crushing most Lyonar, Vetruvian, and Songhai players. Such positive match-ups, particularly Fault Vetruvian and increasingly popular Tempo Ziran, are reason enough to consider Buildmar as a solid meta choice.
Average Rating: 13.7
Highest Rating: 5
Lowest Rating: 23
Community Rating: 13
Let’s start this with a simple proverb “Give a man a decklist and he’ll play with it for a day, teach a man how to build a deck list and he’ll instead go and netdeck the best stuff out there, watch some streamer play it for couple of hours and then brag about how good they are.” In this short and not so concise guide I’ll try to elaborate on the intricacies of the art of spamming your cards from your hand and playing your Strategos as early as turn 5.
First of for those not familiar with the trial’s completion condition it is as simple as playing 12 one attack minions. They could be of any mana cost or be tokens and be zealed. The version I was playing in the MDL season 2 focused on being hyper aggresive with fast and early trial completion. This is why we see the Dreamgazers, Jaxis and Zyxes. I forgo the Silverguard Knights in this set up to focus more on the golem package. Warblade is a great card that synergizes with your trial while also alows your minions to trade well in the early game by making them tankier. Sol Pontif is an extra golem activator that could also be used with your other golems to trade or simply push damage when the occasion occurs. We also have Jax Truesight which works quite well with the trial giving you 5 ticks on your trial. Since the deck wants to go fast we need a substantial amount of draw/replace cards. This is represented in cards like Trinity Oath, Dreamgazer and Legion. I’ve chosen to only run 2 legions instead of Silverguard Knights to refill hand and to eventually just dump more minions on the board.The removal options are Ephemeral Shroud and Martyrdom. Martyrdoms are the main removal tool to deal with big boy threats, Wanderers and other annoying minions that you cannot deal with in any stage of the game before you complete your trial. The deck is rounded up by having a bit of healing to compensate for the HP loss from the dreamgazers and to keep you going.
So what is the game plan? Well simply to find as many activators as possible. The main focus is to find mini Jaxis, Zyxes and Dreamgazers. A good starting hand might be like this: Zyx ,Zyx, Martyrdome, Legion, Celebrant. In this case just replace the martyrdome and legion to look for golems and in particular Warblade, or just find dreamgazers and jaxis. The faster the trial is complete the less time your opponent can react to it. Replacing Mmartyrdom, Jax Truesight and Legion from your starting hand is always good unless you are going against wanderer. Martyrdom can be kept vs Wanderer generals like Lilith, Ragnora and Reva but otherwise the card is better off found from a replace than to be kept in hand. Cards like Trinity Oath can be kept since if the starting hand is fast, refilling after you gas out will allow you to keep up card advantage.
The sideboard of the list is mostly done to transition to Alabaster Titan vs more slower lists and Zirix Fault or midrange set ups. The 3x EMP are against other Titan lists and arcanysts but in general can be used as a 7 drop to transform into an 8 drop and the Sunbreakers are an anti-fault tech.
So the main question is why exclude Holy Immolation? The card ended up being quite the slow tool and not having Bloodtear Alchemist to activate it properly made it a poor choice for the tournament format. The list also performes quite well on ladder without it
Another question is why not use Draining Wave instead of Martyrdom? Well losing 4 life without having the healing to back it up generally ends up being a bad thing in a list that runs minions that have 1 attack. So if you run three draining waves and three dreamgazers, that is 18 life total that you are willing to lose with total of 9 healing that you run. Sunrise Cleric while a good healing source doesn’t combat the health loss you have from Draining Waves as effective as something like Sundrop Elixir.
The list can also swap out Sol Pontifs and Legions plus one Sunrise Cleric for three Auroaras and three Sworn Avengers. Sarclac can also be a tool but most lists that rely on sarlac to complete trial tend to be a bit too slow, and running extra removal. The three mana slot needs to be impactful and Sarlac opens you up for aggresion from other lists that generally want to play a removal based game.
Overall Brome Strategos is a fun list to pilot and fairly easy to learn. While offering a more indepth understanding at higher levels of play where preserving your minions and kiting appropriately requires a bit of positioning knowledge. It is one of the lists that can be played by newcomers and veterans alike.
Wanderer Zirix #12
Average Rating: 13.7
Highest Rating: 7
Lowest Rating: 24
Community Rating: 14
When wanderer initially released it was considered to be one of the weaker trials by the general community, people were set in their ways. It had been traditional thought for a long time that consistency was achieved by minimizing the amount of different cards in your deck; 3 copies of a card 13 times. The idea of “highlander” decks has existed for a longtime before duelyst itself but they were almost always considered memes and non-competitive. This opinion quickly began to shift once wanderer Ragnora hit the ladders, dominating matchups it theoretically had no right to. A lot of this was down to “unfair” interactions with flash and the already strong ripper eggs becoming unpingable and potentially game ending if your opponent can’t find a way to deal 2 damage at range. At the same time people quickly caught on that the singleton decklists were not as inconsistent as initially assumed, duelyst has had quite a few expansions and with the removal of rotations there are many cards which do very similar things. Once this was discovered many people began experimenting with various other wanderer generals and decks to tryout. The infinite possibilities are most definitely tantalizing, so many potential ways to tweak and refine a decklist of 39 seperate cards. As an avid vetruvian player I set to work with the goal of creating the best vetruvian wanderer deck I possibly could (for my playstyle at the least). At the start I had no idea that this deck would suck up so much of my theorycrafting time, at this point it has gone through around 50 small revisions and total overhauls but I can safely say that the deck is competitive as it successfully maintained a top 5 position throughout the entirety of MDL playoffs 2019.
The immediate strengths of utilizing vetruvian with wanderer were apparent to me, the faction has the highest access to rush units with wind dervish via spells such as stars fury, rashas curse, khanum ka (the thought of combining the two most despised decks into one with fault and wanderer was most enjoyable) and also great tempo tools such as sandswirl reader. Zirix himself synergizes well with +1+1 as there are so many more sources of 2 damage than 3 making your iron dervish significantly more resilient and threatening. There are many cards which just fit into place as if they belong in the list, combine that with some solid neutral minions and you have yourself a wanderer list! I personally have a huge number of variations saved in my collection ranging from strictly tempo with no lategame cards to control focused versions with cards such as monolithic visions to overwhelm your opponent in a top decking situation, swarmking scarab (a game ender if played on 6 mana and unanswered), superior mirage to blowout those pesky makantor players. All I can say is give zirix wanderer a chance, give wanderer in general a chance actually as it has received a lot of negative opinions and hate over the past months that it really doesn’t deserve. Thanks for reading!
Wanderer Brome #11
Average Rating: 12.7
Highest Rating: 8
Lowest Rating: 22
Community Rating: 11
Wanderer Brome is usually neglected as a lower tier Wanderer deck when compared to the more common Wanderer archetypes. But I don’t think that this is the case. It has an enormous potential to be top tier not only inside the Wanderer club, but in front of all the meta. How do you build it to be that consistent? It’s simple: you sharp it’s idiosyncrasies. The Lyonar faction have a huge number of powerful standalone cards, you just need to bring the best ones and balance them on an acceptable curve. Let’s jump into an analysis of the deckbuilding.
After I built my Brome Wanderer deck and started to have success with it on ladder (after some tweaks, of course), going 85%+ winrate after 30 games or so, I went to cheerful tell to the community that it is insanely good. But people didn’t have the same opinion, telling me that I would be better playing Reva, Ragnora or even Lilithe. Then they dropped some lists they were a bit successful with. To my astonishment, the lists were very generic, having the very known and discussed “core” of Wanderer decks and about 15-18 Lyonar cards. I think that this is a misconception for the archetype. I can’t speak for all Wanderer decks, so I’m speaking only for Wanderer Brome, the only Wanderer deck that I played for real.
I will pass the neutral cards of the list such as Bloodtear Alchemist, Azure Herald and Inquisitor Kron, since they are very know as good standalone cards and are put in almost all Wanderer decks. So let’s focus on the Lyonar part. I run 24 cards of the faction on this discussed version. It is a bunch, more than half of the list. The distinctive factor is not really the minions or Brome’s BBS (of course they are distinctive too, but I’m claiming that they are not the core), but the spells. The amount of heal and board clear available enable you to play in a very peculiar way when compared to other Wanderer playstyles. You can rely on doing more audacious plays when you have Aperion’s Claim, Tempest, Sunstrike or Holy Immolation on hand. You can do aggressive drops and refill your hand with Trinity Oath, you can do massive trades and swing the game with Dauntless Advance. All this while you heal or save hp. It impacts largely the way you plan your turns and your win conditions. Of course you’ll still want to protect mana or use Celebrant to ramp into Wanderer, but besides that, your gameplay distances a lot from other Wanderers, while you still enjoy the buffed minions (locking the opponent down with a 2/3 provoke minion is sometimes game-changing). I enjoy this deck a lot and I think that everyone can enjoy and have success with it too. Give it a shot!
Wanderer Lilithe #10
Average Rating: 12.4
Highest Rating: 7
Lowest Rating: 17
Community Rating: 10
So for MDL, the following cards were banned – Lava Lance, Rae, Lucent Beam, and Flash when paired with Wanderer. Now while all these bans make sense, there are a couple of notable exclusions, the most disturbing of which is probably Darkfire Sac when paired with Wanderer. On ladder, Wanderer Lilithe is not far behind Rag in terms of power, yet remains completely untouched in MDL. Overall, while it is counterable and sometimes inconsistent, the ability to win the game for free on turn two while being able to fall back on a solid gameplan otherwise makes this deck the overall best choice for MDL. So as much as I’d like to be known in MDL for my innovative Building Vaath or Golem Argeon, here I am playing, championing and complaining about Wanderer goddam Lilithe.
So to begin with, if you start the game with a low cost minion and DFS in your hand, you have a 95% chance of winning the game – that’s why this deck is so good. In a full week of MDL sets you’re winning 1 or 2 games without even trying by drawing this card, regardless of what you’re playing against. What’s rather more interesting to talk about is how the deck plays when you DON’T win on turn 2.
Lilithe/Abyssian without DFS is still a fairly good Wanderer general/faction. Solidly below Reva, probably a little below Brome and around on par with flashless Ragnora and Zirix. The main problems the deck faces are against Wanderers arch nemesis – early game backline threats. Lure and Ritual are the only truly consistent methods of dealing with them, and most other answers can be played around to an extent. Early Sworn Avenger, Furiosa, 4Winds, buffed Heartseekers and Jaxi spawns etc are all annoying to deal with, and Lilithe is among the worst Wanderer deck at doing so.
The positives however are your ability flood the board with stuff both pre and post Wanderer, and the fact you’re probably the best Wanderer deck at dealing with burn decks, thanks to Void Pulse, Deso, Kelaino, Spectral, optional Shadowdancer on top of the neutral suite of healy bois.
My name is sibon, and I fucking hate Wanderer Lilithe.
Average Rating: 10.9
Highest Rating: 7
Lowest Rating: 17
Community Rating: 9
Burnhorn is a deck that’s been around a pretty long time. The deck originally became a thing when a somewhat worthless Decimus got support in the form of Tectonic Spikes. Those 2 cards together equal 9 damage for 7 mana which unlike a lot of other finishers, like spiral technique, actually rewards you for playing it early in the form of card draw. When you Flash Reincarnation the combo has the ability to do 9 out of hand damage for 5 mana which is very potent against certain factions that don’t traditionally run healing. These are generally the factions that you want to face race as you run enough cards that will help you burst your opponent down as the game goes on knowing they have no way to prevent you from killing them with out of hand damage. The version of the deck listed also runs a decent amount of ramp and low cost cards that usually means a naked tec spikes by itself isn’t always a bad play. It allows you to play a faster game while keeping hand size in tact. It also turns out, drawing through your deck also means you’ll draw into more combo pieces and strong cards like Makantor Warbeats. Speaking of impressive minions, this deck runs a handful of powerful and resilient minions AND some pretty decent buff cards in the form of Greater Fortitude and Amplification that helps keep tempo, push damage, and punish your opponent for thinking that leaving a measly 2 drop alive is a good idea.
We’ll start with Young Silithar, easily one of the best 2 drops in the game, 2/3 stat line with rebirth not much else to say. Best minion to lead off when you’re playing against factions that answer 2 drops easily like abyssian with lure, magmar with nat select, Songhai with Phoenix fire, and Lyonar with bta in arclyte sentinel.
Kujata, while an unchecked kujata can literally let you outmuscle your opponent with 3 minions on t2 it’s super easy to remove and should be played with caution against factions that can answer it easily. Usually it’s best when played out of range. It enables a turn 2 slasher, let’s you play a makantor a turn early and let’s you preemptively buff your rush minions with amplification.
Golem Metalurgist, enables turn 2 slasher, has golem synergies, and in combination with kujata can allow you to flood the board in ways you shouldn’t be able to.
Ragebinder is in a league of its own. Traditionally speaking in just about every CCG the 3/4 vanilla stat line for 3 mana has been busted strong in terms of the value it has… well this card can be played for 2 mana, activates your golem synergies, heals you, and has rebirth. Lol this cards a joke – auto include.
Krater is a good board clear option with a weak body but can play many roles. I ran it as a 3 of for a long time but it’s best at 2. It can injure a minion on the turn it’s active so you can play amplification on it and upgrade or go face. Often times as player 2 on turn 1, just playing it on the mana tile and amplifying it is a strong play. Think of it as a tech card that can help some of the strategies we already have going on in the deck. It also helps you kill minions early on with 2/3 stat lines that your general normally couldn’t kill with just 2 damage.
Decimus is what makes the deck work. He turns our BBS into damage, he turns our draw spells into burn, and honestly you’ll be surprised how many times your opponent will opt to dispel it and leave his body up. He’s best played in the corner and around removal against certain decks that don’t have ways of dealing with out of threats. But based on the matchup, aggressive positioning is sometimes better.
Plasma Storm is a weird card, it often doesn’t effect our minions, especially when we buff them. It’s matchup dependent and probably the first card you want to cut when monkeying with the deck. The deck plays for board very well and against certain factions it will fill its role extremely well.
Earth Sister Taygete is another interesting card that can find its play in the deck. It’s fallen out of favor lately but it’s a card that forces your opponent to play differently and based on how they react to it can create moments that allow you to read your opponent. You’ll get some pretty decent insight into what cards they don’t have in hand based on how they choose to answer it. I’m
Haruspex is a Zir’an counter. That’s basically it. You can usually punish vet with this card before they hit 5 mana as well since there’s tons of ways to ramp it out early and since vet loves to play cards that keep their hand full early on you’ll usually mill them a few cards. Oh yeah, it also combos with decimus for when you need those extra few points of damage.
Lave slasher is by far the most controversial card in the deck. Lots of people think it’s bad, but we’re almost never playing it on 5 mana. It also holds amplification extremely well and since it usually hits the board damage, that’s usually not a problem. Gives you reach for out of range minions from time to time which is an added benefit. It has a fairly removal resistant body at its stat line as well.
Makantor, do I need to explain this one? Flash Makantor with amplification on t2 will basically just win you almost any game. In fact flash Makantor and amplification on any turn will probably win you the game.
A few honorable mentions are elucidator for when we want to go even faster. This card paired with kujata early on can put in work. 4 mana for 5 face damage is rarely bad, but there’s some matchups when you just won’t want to ever play it so I don’t think its always worth running it.
Visionar, some people swear by this card but I don’t think it particularly fits by build with all the buff cards we already have going on. It is a Zir’an slayer though, and really just rolls over any deck that doesn’t have dispel or transform effects to deal with it.
Aggro Reva #8
Average Rating: 9.9
Highest Rating: 5
Lowest Rating: 21
Community Rating: 7
Comparing the Duelyst meta of 2016 to today, Aggro Reva is one of the few decks to have stood the test of time. Indeed, today’s popular deck list is remarkably similar to the popular list of 2016, with very few changes required to adapt. As such, it is highly likely to continue to perform well in any future expansions, making it a great choice of first deck for grinding fast ladder games. The decisions are complex, and with correct decisions every game is winnable. This makes it a perfect deck to practise identifying your mistakes and improving your skills.
One of the reasons for Aggro Reva’s timelessness is that your plan is compact and hard to interact with. It doesn’t matter if your opponent wants to spend their 7 mana turn playing Titan or Shadow Nova if your plan is to kill them before they get there.
In most matchups, your plan is the same. The early turns should be spent developing a diverse set of threats. The mid game should be spent continuing to develop and diversify, while keeping your opponents board presence to a minimum, and getting in some chip damage when you can. Then there will always come a turn where you must flip the switch, and give up on the board. You want to convert your board advantage into face damage as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Knowing when and how to do this is the most important skill in playing the deck: go all out face too early, and they will stabilize. Go too late, and you might lose your board advantage.
For example, suppose an opponent ignores your board of a Spelljammer and Primus Fist and plays a Mythron Wanderer. This should be all the opening we need to win: Juxtaposition the Wanderer into a corner, Killing Edge, Ethereal Blades, and suddenly we are hitting for 15 damage. Assuming you got some damage in earlier, and have some burn in hand, that should be gg. Granted, a smart opponent will not leave such an obvious opening. Knowing how to find or create such an opening, and how to shape your hand in order to take advantage of it, is key to finding any success with Aggro Reva.
Its which cards are used to provide this game ending burst: Ethereal Blades, Killing Edge, Phoenix Fire, Inner Focus, heck basically every card in the deck does damage so that you can rely on top decking damage when you need it. But how do we dominate the early- and mid-game to ensure we have a board advantage on the critical turn? Especially considering that none of our minions are particularly impressive?
This is where the two best cards in the deck come in: Juxtaposition and Mist Dragon Seal. These allow us to disregard the rules of the board. Whereas other aggro decks are forced to play their minions in the face of the opponent, Aggro Reva can develop threats safely in the backline with the assurance that they will be able to teleport in for a favourable trade or to go face. This also gives us more freedom to play around matchup specific cards which will blow you out: Sandswirl Reader, Makantor Warbeast, etc. This is a freedom which should be exercised regularly in order to see good results.
In the opening, I said that Aggro Reva has seen very few changes over its lifetime. In some regards, this is because there is a clear set of “best” cards for the archetype, with few flex slots (lantern fox, ethereal blades, tusk boar). This does not mean that it lacks the ability to adjust. Depending on what you face, Ki Beholder, Four Winds Magi, and even Kaleos and Flamewreath can be brought in, among many other cards.
Aggro Reva boasts good matchups against many decks such as slow wanderer and vet decks, every trial deck, and even eggs. All of its bad matchups are very winnable with practice. However, it just falls short of the top echelon. It lacks the raw inevitable power of the top decks, instead winning all its games by a razor’s edge. As a result, it is rarely seen on ladder and in tournament, and lacks a champion player to drive forward its innovation.
Arcanyst Shidai #7
Average Rating: 8.9
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 16
Community Rating: 8
Arcanyst Shidai is a deck where over half of your minions can threaten endless value if unanswered, and has access to movement that is only rivaled by Kaleos. This allows the Arcanyst player to access the enemy backline to dismantle their pieces, take control of early mana explosively and generally have the option to place most of their key threats in safe positions and force the enemy to answer it very quickly or face the consequences. While the deck has some very powerful cards that can bring a game back it thrives when getting the advantage and protecting it’s units and making it difficult for the enemy to answer what you are doing. Look for ways that you can use your early turns to get a lead, or opportunities where you can setup multiple threats so that it will be very difficult for your opponent to answer both.
Since every minion is the deck has the Arcanyst subtype if you establish even a small board advantage it is very possible to transition that into huge lead with Owlbeast Sage, or often just a straight up lethal with Kindling. In these situations it can get a little unfair when the opponent doesn’t have a good answer in their deck. If you’re looking for a deck that can translate a little bit of backline value into a huge lead then this would be a good place to start. Remember that while it looks like a deck heavily revolving around spells what what you are really trying to achieve is board domination. Due to how everything synergizes, cheap spells, all your movement possibilities and cards to play around Arcanyst Shidai ends up as a deck that has a lot of lines of play that all seem plausible. I feel this can make it a little daunting for newcomers, but equally means it can be rewarding for those that play it well.
However, the deck does have some fragilities, some early tempo from the opponent can put on the brakes before the snowball gets rolling. Also there are certain answers that will undo all your hard work. Luckily most of these answers tend to either be quite narrow spell counters (Magesworn or Keshrai), or transforms & dispels (Bear Seal, EMP, Lightbender, Ironclad) that are usually weak against Wanderer (or just in general) and so may see less play. As a result it could be considered one of the best decks to run on ladder due to how it needs certain counters to stop the way in which it can snowball a board beyond control if unchecked. Players who pick this up this will find they have a strong deck with a lot of depth.
Wanderer Reva #6
Average Rating: 6.6
Highest Rating: 3
Lowest Rating: 10
Community Rating: 5
There likely doesn’t need to be much introduction as to what this deck is, seeing how Wanderer decks have been on top of the meta for over a year now. It’s a midrange deck that plays for tempo and value, with Wanderer being the ultimate tool for both. So what makes this deck (Hailander, as some might call it) stands out from other Wanderer decks, and how does it fare against other top tier decks?
Wanderer decks in general have very few “unwinnable” matchups, if not zero. They’re un-favored against burn style decks like various Starhorns, or Heal Zir’Ans. But they beat basically every non-Wanderer midrange/board-oriented decks, thanks to Wanderer. The Fault Zirix matchup is even, and draw dependant: if the Wanderer can snowball a board before the Zirix can develop Fault, it’s a win for the Wanderer; and vice versa.
Most Wanderer decks run the same core of around 20 cards, so while the difference between each variant isn’t huge, it’s still noticeable. What makes Hailander stand out from other Wanderers, is, first and foremost, Songhai’s array of tools. Songhai has access to many cheap and effective spells like Juxtaposition, Mist Dragon Seal, Gotatsu, etc. Although their removals (Bear Seal and Painter) aren’t as versatile as Vetruvian’s Blood of Air or Sandswirl, they’re more versatile than Magmar’s removals. However, the main advantage Wanderer Reva has is the 2/2 Heartseekers. There are very few ways to deal with 2/2 Ranged units without losing value, and it goes without saying how much value the Heartseekers can generate if left alive for just a few turns. In terms of Wanderer matchups, against Wanderer Zirix or Lilithe, Reva’s BBS provides more value; but there’s also the fact that Vetruvian and Abyssian aren’t very optimal for Wanderer. Against Wanderer Ragnora, Reva’s BBS can directly counter Rag’s, if Rag can’t deal with it.
As for the deck itself, the variant I use has been tweaked and optimized over hundreds, almost thousands of games, and is basically THE optimal Wanderer Reva list. You’ll see the same core in pretty much all other variants. There are only 4-5 cards I’d replace depending on the matchup.
Average Rating: 5.2
Highest Rating: 3
Lowest Rating: 10
Community Rating: 6
Alabaster Titan has, ever since its introduction, been a powerful archetype which has steadily climbed to become the most powerful Lyonar deck of them all, as far as MDL is concerned at
least. The standard ‘vanilla Argeon’, as I like to call it, is the finest Lyonar has to offer and provides players with plenty of room to tech and tweak the list to their heart’s content. This
type of Titan, which goes full in on playing for tempo and board advantage while fully utilizing Argeons +2 ATK BBS, opts not to include any alternative type of win-cons such as Strategos
or Mechs. This results in a deck which carries a greater degree of consistency since it doesn’t try to juggle several types of unreliable win cons, translating into a deck which can
win both via a classic beatdown strategy and by playing Titan to dominate games in the later stages.
Ironically, the major restriction of Titan, not playing any spells in the deck, assures a consistency in your draws and replaces since you are not going to brick with an action bar
full of Oaths and Immolations, making one more likely to have a play for each turn. Despite all of Titan’s strengths, it does carry some drawbacks. Back-line threats are normally
not easily dealt with, and artifacts could also be back-breaking, should one lack the pings. What should be noted, is that the breed of Titan I propose has an awful
matchup against Vet in general, so to the degree that most optimized Zirix and Ciphyron opponents are losing matchups.
Leitgress – it took some time but this former duelyst streamer finally found its place in the post expansion meta. The 2/6 ranged body is beefy enough to take common 4
dmg sources such as Lavaslasher’s opening gambit, Draining Wave, Makantor etc, but what really makes it a fantastic card is the 2/1 Rush cub which works beautifully
with Argeons BBS. Requires careful positioning and calls for high IQ to master.
Sunbreaker – Tempest is arguably the strongest Lyonar spell, nuking the board by dealing 2 dmg for 2 mana is very effective, especially when comparing it to such
cards as Ghost Lightning or Frostburn. Sunbreaker is the second best thing, providing AOE coverage where Titan is lacking and can help in those pesky
Arclyte Sentinel – a true hero of Lyonar, a 2/4 body for only 3 mana which lets you clear eggs, Heartseekers, Kron Tokens or just enable trades in general. A staple card
not only in Titan builds.
Possible tech cards:
Magesworn – heavily matchup dependent, but being able to switch off your opponent’s action bar and win cons, such as in the case of Eight Gates and Mantra,
or even just the enemy BBS at times, is quite powerful and can sometimes single handedly win games. Very strong against Songhai and Abyssian, in particular.
Kron – favored by some, a 4/5 provoke and a 2/2 token with every replace is not awful on paper. However, you are effectively playing a 5 health provoker for 5 mana, which
makes it a rather weak play should you be heavily behind on board.
Repulsor Beast – is that Aymara Healer something you can’t deal with, or maybe you want to pull that backline Swarmking Scarab closer so you can smack it to death?
Repulsor Beast can do both!
Aggro Ziran #4
Average Rating: 5
Highest Rating: 3
Lowest Rating: 10
Community Rating: 4
“White Songhai” is an aptly coined term that sums up the strongest ziran decks in a nutshell, one which can push near aggro reva level single target damage, have much stronger AOE damage potential, and the best draw engine in the game. Both of your sources of draw being highly synergistic to your wincon, which also makes these lists some of the most consistent in the game. There are a LOT of variations on these lists as they are usually responsive to the meta in question, I will go over what I consider the best general ziran shell which can easily be fine tuned to whatever meta give or take 2 cards.
Having tried a multitude of ziran lists over the years I now firmly know that ziran’s winrate is disproportionally higher going first moreso than any other deck in the game. If you had the ability to go first every game the optimal deck composition would look something like Niklaren or Ree’s posted last power rankings. Nik’s is the better general list while Ree’s has a better early and midgame but will fizzle out and struggle against the things ziran is already weak against harder, namely big minions, obelysk / midranged vet, arcanyst, high HP swarms. You can brute force high HP single target lists with 3x vit lists by backlining on a tile but eventually you will hit max HP while they build a sizable board and will not be able to hurt yourself while keeping your vitriol stacks intact in a sundrop elixir list. Many of these traditional lists are built assuming optimal curving in mind but often when they go second they have nothing they want to put on board as most meta decks have the ability to remove a lancer turn 2, if not at least playing around it by refusing to put their minions in range of ziran to allow self-damage. This is where warlock or draining wave can be used for counterplay, not being dependent on their boardstate to heal proc, but without 3 drops it never feels good. In general you are wasting your precious heal procs for flimsy anchors that will not survive being put in range of the enemy and will probably not even be able to trade with the minion your opponent plays the following turn, with the choice to bodyblock or run away with the general to completely zone ziran out. Because of this even though a pure burn list has a much higher potential damage output going first I prefer my lists to always have 9x 3 drops for the above mentioned reasons and consistency. Even in traditional lists a turn 2 can be ruined as player 1 if your flameblood warlock gets gotatsu’d, bloodtear’d etc.
3 drops get around these roadblocks as player 2 now has 3 drops it wants to use as an anchor turn 1 without having to risk a lancer every time. Scintilla while having a healing synergy effect is one of these anchors which can safely trade board without worry of being cleared as it’s often too premature to take advantage of scintilla’s effect that early anyway, you often don’t want to overheal at the beginning of the game as it hinders your ability to proc multiple times in one turn. 3 drops also help P1’s curve dramatically as the choice between ramping or blocking top tile and zoning becomes an option now, blocking mana tiles while also threatening a trade to be able to proc a heal the following turn.
As for the reasoning for why certain cards are 2x is simple, these are the cards you often don’t want to see in the first 3 or so turns of any game. Ziran games have a play order that generally go, 1) set up “anchors” on board, 2) damage said anchors, 3) snowball your heal effect cards using cheap heal procs. Vitriol can snowball out of control if you get 2 on but you tend to heal so much as Ziran you will have to damage yourself (and your artifacts by extension) in order to use these vit procs if you equip it too early. Trinity oath while being your lategame wincon feels like a dead card while you are trying to set up a board with 5 cards in hand. You want to get your spelljammer up as soon as physically possible in most games, the optimal turn 2 as player 1 is often blocking bottom mana tile while leaving 1 minion up your opponent can’t remove at top tile, allowing you to healproc from your injured top minion next turn. Regardless of if it gets removed it will likely bring you more anchors (silverguard, scintilla, spelljammer) and board removal tools that will keep your opponent’s board clean while setting up for ramp plays. Playing spelljammer lategame often feels bad as their minions will get progressively stronger and not having an immediate anchor ready that can proc sunriser or vit will often leave their minion up to wreck havoc on your board. One cannot ignore board as ziran for too long as your vitriol procs become less effective the more minions are developed, your sunrisers will get removed immediately after playing, it will be harder to keep anchors backlined etc.
Many people believe sunstrike is bad but I disagree, in most matchups and for most players I could easily recommend the above list with 1 more flameblood warlock and immo in the place of the sunstrikes but as a ladder list there are some threats that ziran cannot deal with without sunstrike. From the straight and obvious ones like bloodtide priestess to less obvious matchups like fault and vaath. Ziran lists in general have a “dip in and out” playstyle, where one wants to stick to the enemy and go face as much as possible with your high ATK general, be within reach of your opponent’s backlined minions that you can clear with sunriser procs and immo, and then run away and finish off the opponent with your spell kit after their board begins to overwhelm lategame. This is the technique that allows you to effortlessly beat fault lists (assuming you didn’t buff with lancer) as you can easily win the early to midgame with your amazing AOE clear and finish off the opponent with a hail of tempests, sunstrikes into lucent beams for a grand total of 26 damage out of hand that can be done regardless of their boardstate. Factor in flameblood warlocks and vitriol after clearing dervishes with tempest and it shows how crushing this matchup can be. In a tourney setting you can remove all your lancers for 1x sunstrike 1x flameblood warlock and 1x vitriol and you have one of the best anti fault list in the game. As for vaath, sunstrike is just a win harder card as the real mvp that saves you is vitriol. As I said before, you can cheese high HP minions if they’re only a 1x on board, which is very often what will happen for vaath’s playstyle. I personally play in a way that makes me not want herald as a 3x but it can be useful for ramping into a lancer and using a heal proc in the same turn T2 as either player, I just don’t use it in this way as 90% of the time it means the lancer you put on mana spring will be removed the next turn.
I also think Powinthekissa’s base list is a good list that utilizes the same playstyle (high hp anchors into 1 mana heal procs) and may do that function better, but is not a better ziran “shell” that can transition into beating nearly every matchup in the game give or take a few cards. Personally I will run a list with skorn / sanctify instead of elixir in scintilla lists as I heal more than I can damage myself except for a few matchups such as mantra. Overall I would say this shell is the second or third strongest list in the game, only really losing to two archetypes decisively and having a 40-60 matchup against the strongest list in the game.
Average Rating: 2.4
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 6
Community Rating: 2
I consider eggs to be the best deck in Duelyst. It does not have the overwhelming win chance that many other decks have in general matchups, but it always has a chance to win. The difference player skill makes with this deck is very noticeable.
The true strength of eggs lie in in versatility. With the same deck you can either go full aggro with ripper combo and erratic raptyrs, go tempo with golems and makantor or play for massive value with progenitor.
It excels on an established board, so try to maximize your board advantage by developing/removing threats while playing around removal. A single ripper can deal 10 damage to a general after having greater fortitude cast on it. Lava Lance is a great removal tool that combos incredibly well with progenitor for decisive turn 2 plays.
The mirror match of eggs is heavily favored for the more experienced player. Eggs struggle vs decks that have threats that can only be answered with dispel and that have large quantities of AOE ping.
It’s a deck that will reward your positioning skill and match-up knowledge and the deck I have had the most fun with. I will readily recommend any player to try it out. I have included a rough writeup to show some of the options you have with eggs and to share some knowledge to get you thinking more about the power of the deck. Link Here!
Average Rating: 2.4
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 4
Community Rating: 3
Fault is a busted deck where you spam broken OP tempo cards until you Fault-Rae on 6 mana (or before), and then start spamming broken OP answer cards and overwhelm your opponent with infinite poop. To play the deck, you need to be very good at running away the whole game, going second every game, and also drawing the cards you need at the right time ie. Drawing triple golems t1, Fault-Rae on 6 mana, and 3 swirlers.
The deck has a good matchup vs decks that autolose to Ka like Vaath nerds and idiot Zirans who proc Lancer. It also has a good matchup vs decks that play on curve minions like every midrange deck ever because swirler basically makes them skip their turn. It loses to Ranged minion spam omegaLUL and burn decks that can clear early golems or stall the poop for a few turns with AoE like Mantra, 8g8s, and burn Ziran (played by someone with >0iq).
Fault did pretty good on ladder because it beats wankers playing Wanderer pretty hard but now the ladder is all Xor and random hai decks so its pretty bad. It was also pretty good in MDL but now that everyone knows to play 8g8s vs it, you probably need to gut the sideboard to tech vs it. Consider cards like Orbrider, Prophet of the White Palm, Magesworn, and Mirrorim to counter spell-based burn decks :V :V :V
Wanderer Ragnora #1
Average Rating: 1.9
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 5
Community Rating: 1
Wanderer Ragnora is one of the top decks in Duelyst, with a long tournament pedigree and a fearsome ladder presence. With a powerful and consistent game plan, a versatile set of threats, and outs to almost any situation, it’s a strong deck that regularly puts up good results.
It’s no coincidence that the best Wanderer deck also has the best BBS to combo with the buff. 4/2 Rippers that spawn from 1/2 Eggs are incredibly hard to deal with. They provide card advantage and tempo by trading with enemy minions, and push face damage rapidly when the time comes.
The rest of the deck is no slouch either – it reads like a Greatest Hits of Duelyst. Magmar can lay claim to a number of the best cards in the game, from Lava Lance to Makantor Warbeast, and these are supplemented by a legion of powerful neutrals. Many minions in the deck reduce your opponent’s board while advancing your own. Wanderer’s buff makes even your obligatory swarm of two-drops into solid midgame threats, while pushing the likes of Bonereaper and Jax Truesight over the top.
Although the deck is comprised entirely of 1-ofs, it can assemble answers to almost any situation, and contains multiple copies of key effects like AOE damage or point removal. Attempting to go wide against Wanderer usually meets a boardsweeper or a big tempo play driving a wedge into the enemy formation, while attempting to grind or go tall falls foul of Wanderer’s mana curve and consistent board pressure. Many cards can play multiple roles – for example, Omniseer curves out, buffs small creatures into threats, and deletes sand tiles or healing tiles.
The main counters to this deck are Fault Vetruvian (with Portal Guardians) and anti-Wanderer Wanderer decks (such as Reva or the more aggressive version of Ragnora, with Flameblood Warlocks). Fault has better opening curves into a more powerful endgame, and other Wanderer decks can churn out hard-to-remove threats or force a race that Ragnora isn’t well-equipped to counter. In general, though, the player on the draw in any Wanderer mirror has an advantage regardless of either player’s list.