May ’18 Power Rankings

Table of Contents-

If this is your first time reading the power rankings it is strongly recommended that you go to the introduction first.

Midrange Ziran(new review)
Wanderer Brome(new review)
Titan Lyonar
Strategos Brome
Swarm Brome
Wizard Brome(new review)

Midrange Kaleos(new review)
Mantra Shidai
Mech Reva
Wanderer Reva
Aggro Reva(new review)
Midrange Reva
Eight Gates Reva
Arcanyst Shidai
Aggro Kaleos

Control Zirix(new review)
Control Ciphyron(new review)
Aggro Zirix(new review)
Midrange Zirix(new review)
Wanderer Zirix(new review)

Aggro Cassyva
Wanderer Lilithe
Midrange Maehv
Midrange Cassy(new review)

Keeper Vaath(new review)
Airhorn(new review)
Extinction Event Ragnora(new review)
Wanderer Ragnora
Apex Combo(new review)
Decimus Combo
Midrange Vaath
Hate Horn

Ramp Faie
Jax Faie

Unrated Decks


Welcome Duelyst Fam to May’s power rankings! If you are unfamiliar with the power rankings here’s how it works: we get a group of some of the very best players together and we ask them their opinion on every… single… deck we can think of. We then take it one step further and ask them to try and put those decks in order from best to worst in the meta right now. This does a lot of wonderful things for you the reader: you get an idea of what the meta looks like right now, you can see which decks are controversial, you get the opinion of a lot of S-rank players compiled into one location, and you can see which decks there is a general consensus about. If you noticed the table of contents at the top you can use that to skip to specific decks, however if you start scrolling down we have the decks put in order of their rank for you.

Some things to know: A power ranking is not a tier list. It is going to show you what a lot of different people think all at once. On a tier list a player decides what they think the best decks are and all of the “tiers” are based on how decks play against the common match-ups. Something might be considered tier 2 because it has a good match-up against the current number one deck. That will sort of come out by how a deck goes up in ranking, but it is not a direct consideration on a power ranking like it is for a tier list. Another important point is that you are looking at the compiled opinions (and we can’t stress opinions enough here) of some of the best players. Constructive arguments have occurred between some upper end players and we encourage you to politely engage in conversation and debate with us. 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. So please enjoy the rankings for what they are: a great opportunity to examine the meta and the diverse opinions that can come out Duelyst’s ladder.

We really hope you enjoy all of this awesome information, and if you happen to bump into one of the Goodfellas who put this all together for you, make sure you send them some love (preferably monetary love;)

This month’s crew:
AlphaCentury(Writer, Consultant, Designer)
Amoore327(Moral Support)
Boronian(Actual living Bada*s, Consultant)
DemmiRemmi (Consultant)
EursianJay(Grandmaster of Memes, Consultant)
F8 (Designer)
Frued (Designer, Consultant)
Goodguy Hopper (Writer, lead design, dc3a683f-ad0a-4749-8485-2753d99df9c1)
Hugo(Advice, editor)
IceyFire95(Work Horse, Editor, Writer)
IntellectPresent (consultant, designer)
Kirabi (Editor, Producer, Owner)
Minmaxer (consultant, designer)
Niklaren (Writer, Consultant, Designer)
Oracle(Consultant, Designer)
Rhacker93 (Future lord and savior, Designer, writer, consultant)
SonofMakuta(Designer, Writer)
YerBoiJosh(Designer, Writer, Consultant)
Link to the Crew’s Votes.


IceyFire95's Airhorn
IceyFire95’s Airhorn

Airhorn #34 (1st time)
Average Rating: 31
Highest Rating: 26
Lowest Rating: 34

“We have spent the last several weeks teasing Icey about this list, but the reality is that the kid has good Duelyst instincts, and the deck has potential. Incorporating a series of sated midgame fliers to account for Magmar’s positioning weakness in the early and mid game is actually a pretty good idea. Where this deck falls short is that in trying to account for that positioning weakness in the early and midgame the deck loses its core strength of having sticky minions that are a pain in the neck to deal with. Despite appearances there is a lot of ranged and pseudo-ranged removal in the current meta and this makes it hard to get an active flyer even if you hard back line them. Without and active flyer you are back to square one, not a lot of ability to frustrate the positioning of the more nimble factions. In a slightly different meta we might be singing Icey’s praises here, and I think sometimes it is good to look back on decks that tried something and learned from it.”
-Goodguy Hopper

IceyFire95's Midrange Cassy
IceyFire95’s Midrange Cassy

Midrange Cassy #33 (1st time)
Average Rating: 30.13
Highest Rating: 25
Lowest Rating: 34

“In many ways this is still an experimental deck were someone wanted to try some of the potentially meta relevant cards that are right on the cusp of ‘maybe playable.’ Although Doom is a solid scratch Necrotic Sphere and Betrayal are very good against the current wanderer lists, and finding out which is the best or what mix of the two is the best for the meta is an important experiment for those with an eye for the tournament scene. Additionally with a large portion of removal and healing the deck could potentially sustain into the late game. Where the deck falls short is that first aggro Cass is already strong and we approach the realm of simply being worse than a direct alternative, and second that it lacks for a ‘touchdown turnaround’ or that is to say a card that completely turns the game around for them. In the past midrange leaning control decks like this utilized cards like Aymara which where good both when on offense of defense and could easily turn the game around if you were behind. Without the introduction of a card that is going to completely turn the game around this deck will be a ‘like aggro cass but not quite as good’ list.”
-Goodguy Hopper

T2K's Starhorn Hate
T2K’s Starhorn Hate

Hate Horn #32 (-10)
Average Rating: 28.38
Highest Rating: 18
Lowest Rating: 34

“You have Decimus and Tectonic Spikes right? Okay… and you’ve got this new bro Hatefurnace…Okay… What if, and hear me out here, we put them together? …Genius. The big thing on Hatefurnace, especially post nerf, is that you need a way to keep your hand full. It is easy to run out of cards if you are casting the low-cost creatures and the low-cost buff spells. So, Starhorn seems like a natural fit, but truth be told it is really Tectonic Spikes and not Starhorn’s BBS that makes this love relationship work. You end up with a deck that can transition from aggressive buffed little guys in the early game, to threatening big out of hand damage in the mid and late game, and then compounding your opponent’s problems with active Hatefurnace in the late game. Where the deck trips up a little is that there are too many moving parts, and the question becomes is it better to run a classic Decimus + Spikes list or lock up some of the typically free deck space to add Hatefurnace? At the moment I would argue it is better to have the free slots.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mech Reva #31 (-3)
Average Rating: 28.25
Highest Rating: 13
Lowest Rating: 34

“Mech Reva can do some crazy things fairly consistently. Mechazor will most often come out around 6-7 mana, and with smart replaces you can find yourself dropping an unanswered mech followed by a Zendo + Mist Dragon Seal the turn after. This equates to 14 damage plus frenzy to clear the board and against meta decks like Brome this is devastating. Another solid play with Cannoneer is that you can rush out your Cannon of Mech and BBS it, or also for 6 mana you can play Cannoneer and Helm of Mech to rush out a Mechazor. This deck’s main flaw is that it is difficult to play, because there is an elusive balance of playing mech minions quickly without exhausting your hand; while also keeping combo pieces in hand. That is critical to each match’s success. This is a balance that I have yet to find in the current season. But, I believe once you learn the intricacies of the list it offers very strong lines of play and a more consistent game plan than people give it credit for.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Eight Gates Reva #30 (-3) Video Review
Average Rating: 26.75
Highest Rating: 12
Lowest Rating: 33

“This experimental new take on an old archetype surprised me with its power and consistency. The basic idea is to amass a supply of Phoenix Fires and/or buff up your Knucklestorms, then play one or more Eight Gates and volley your opponent to death. Before that happens, the deck gets to play a ‘normal’ game of Duelyst – you have minions to pressure, trade and provide utility. The large number of spell generators and BBS synergies keep the gas flowing, so that unlike classic turn-and-burn lists you won’t have to make as many decisions on using burn spells for removal or saving them for bust.

Eight Gates’ large burst, redundancy, and ‘proactivity’ give it a solid chance against almost any other deck in the meta. Its most favorable match-ups are those where it has time to assemble combos or where the opponent is weak to Heartseekers. On the negative side; early big minions can stretch its removal, and faster aggro decks can prey on its limited healing.

The build featured here is still an early draft (and this author would be very keen to hear of any improvements you’ve made). Notably, it lacks Thunderbomb (or Cobra Strike) and only runs one hard removal spell.”

EurasianJay’s Mantra Shidai

Mantra Shidai #29 (+0)
Average Rating: 26.75
Highest Rating: 20
Lowest Rating: 33

“Mantra Shidai at its heart is a combo-focused burn deck that includes powerful tempo-based spells that pull double duty as both burn and removal. Cards such as Gotatsu, Thunderbomb, Cobra Strike and Phoenix Barrage are all excellent at either controlling the board while also doing direct damage to the enemy general, as is the case with Cobra Strike and Thunderbomb, or at maintaining a healthy hand size for more powerful Firestorm Mantra turns later on like Phoenix Barrage and Gotatsu. When playing this list, the mana-discounting ability of Abjudicator is extremely powerful and often the key cog in your damage machine especially when combined with cards such as Eight Gates.

Boasting good match-ups against decks that try to swarm the board early with smaller minions and naturally preying on slower more control-focused Midrange lists this deck is neither poorly positioned in the meta… nor well positioned because where it falls short is its vulnerability to aggressive lists with similar levels of burst and/or healing, such as Aggro Abyss, Obelysk Vetruvian and Heal Ziran.

A skill-intensive venture, this list stresses your ability to correctly replace, position your few pieces, and think ahead while setting up ideal turns to push for massive damage. This is an incredibly fun Burn/Combo list with one of, if not the highest, upper ceilings for out of hand damage that is currently available in Duelyst.”

Magnanimousmakantor's Keeper Vaath
Magnanimousmakantor’s Keeper Vaath

Keeper Vaath #28 (1st time)
Average Rating: 24.88
Highest Rating: 14
Lowest Rating: 34

“My goodness what a blast from the past that name is. Magnanimous submitted this deck to us on reddit, and of the ones submitted it is one of the few that made the cut to getting ranked. I will not try and sell you that this deck is some fantastic deck list that has been overlooked, but it falls into the realm of ‘not bad.’ This is probably a tier 2.5 deck and one of the things that is very positive about it is that it serves as a nice stepping stone towards mastering midrange vaath. I know we don’t often talk about the merits of a deck outside of ‘is it good in the meta’ but I think one of the often overlook elements of a deck is whether it helps you get better at the game or not. Midrange Vaath is notoriously difficult to master and once you have it mastered it is one of the ‘legacy’ decks I mention on occasion that seems to be immune to meta shifts and always seems to dodge the nerf stick. having a deck that is easier to play than midrange Vaath but can help you start developing the skills that will let you play that deck forever is not a bad thing. Again the deck is capable of winning but it is not going to hand you things very often. What it has going for it that Vaath doesn’t is that its name sake Keeper of the Vale is an inherent two for one card at worst. Therefore it is a little easier to generate card advantage while you learn the ropes of how much of Vaath’s face to trade away.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Arcanyst Shidai #27 (-7)
Average Rating: 24.5
Highest Rating: 22
Lowest Rating: 34

“Arcanyst Shidai got a small addition, Araras Prophet, but aside from that the deck remains mostly unchanged from last season. With Katara rotating out it lost one of it’s powerful backstab openers, but gained a chance for some mid/late game synergy. Since the list did not change much from last expansion the plan is the same as before: stick an arcanyst or two and then snowball the board in your favor. Once up and running you can generate some overwhelming board states. While there is a little bit of healing in the deck, aggressive decks that have cheap single-target removal for your key arcanysts can apply enough pressure that they may be able to take you down before you get going. Since most of your minions perform vastly better when you already have some other arcanysts to synergize with getting an early board state is key. If you cannot get your board going early you may find yourself struggling to keep up.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Midrange Maehv #26 (-7) Full Article
Average Rating: 23.88
Highest Rating: 15
Lowest Rating: 33

“The deck has a lot of synergy, but it doesn’t always come together fast enough to compete with other decks in the format. Furor Chakram may be one of the budget cards of choice this season, but it lacks the supporting cast to make it a dominating force in the current meta. I would personally stay away from this list, because it looks like it can do some neat tricks that won’t win you the game but might hold your attention and keep you playing a deck that is probably only a 50/50 list. Although I have dropped a couple games to this deck I would suspect I am overall positive against it, and I have never been terribly impressed with what it does.”
-Goodguy Hopper

Dragall Midrange reva
Dragall’s Midrange Reva

Midrange Reva #25 (-9)
Average Rating: 23
Highest Rating: 11
Lowest Rating: 30

“Mid-range Reva is the brainchild of the legendary tournament player Dragall. It plays as a quintessential mid-range deck: looking to out-last and out-value aggressive decks, and to close out the game before control decks are able to take over. It has a very diverse toolbox which is able to deal with most situations, making foresight and smart replace decisions a necessity. In the hands of a great player, Mid-range Reva is a terrifying force, as Dragall has shown again and again.

The downfall of the deck is its lack of accessibility. Knowing how to win different match-ups with this list requires a fair deal of deck and meta knowledge which the average player might not have access to without playing “many”* games with the deck.”

*By “many” he means enough games that you can reasonably approach mastery of the deck in a single season. And, that the deck will not carry you while you are learning. Nor is it promised that the deck will always be good. -Ed

Alpha's Wizard Brome
AlphaCentury’s Wizard Brome

Wizard Brome #24 (1st time)
Average Rating: 22.25
Highest Rating: 14
Lowest Rating: 28

“Wizard Brome is among the strangest decks Duelyst has ever seen. Go on, I implore you, tell me what its win condition is. If you spot it, you’re boosted; there isn’t one.
My pet deck, Wizard has existed in various forms for a few months now, but with no deck tech available (yet…) and few pilots it still frequently catches people off guard. It it designed to be the purest possible control deck. Instead of killing your opponent, the goal of Wizard is to reach a state of stabilization: empty board, 25hp, full hand, and a provoked and empty-handed opponent. From there, it is a simple matter of beating the opponent down with spells and Crestfallen.
To do this it uses Lyonar’s myriad of damage-based removal spells and healing cards. Much of the power of Wizard’s removal package comes from its redundancy. For small threats you have Judgement, Tempest, and Sunstrike. For medium threats, Immolation and Circle. For bigger threats, Martyr and Claim. And of course, based on the situation you can make do with what you have, there’s some forgiveness. As far as minions go, Scintilla is Lyonar’s Kelaino, and Legion its Circulus. Once you have stabilized, Radiant Standard will tutor these two, and close out games quicker than you might think.
One of the selling points of Wizard Brome is its matchup against aggro/burn decks. With healing out the wazoo, being put to 1 hp is little more than a slight annoyance for Wizard, and so burn decks will have a tougher time than a bear in a blackberry bush. However, its biggest flaw is the amount of brainpower required to play it accurately. Knowing what removal to keep for which situation requires a immense  foresight and meta knowledge. In addition, games have a tendency to go long, and one tiny mistake will often cost the game, so it requires a lot of concentration to play accurately.
This meta is not be the prettiest for Wizard. Strategos is a tricky matchup, but is quite even if Wizard adopts a burn playstyle, ignoring the board and saving Tempest for Jax. Wanderer can also prove tricky, with the passive buff pushing minions past the breakpoints for your removal, and their BBS generating infinite value. Perhaps the hardest deck is the Apex combo deck, Wizard has no way to interact with 25 damage OTKs, and gives the opponent ample time to assemble them. Against the rest of the meta without infinite value engines, however, Wizard is still effective. A young sorcerer with ample training, knowledge, and observations of a master should be able to pilot Wizard Brome to fantastic effect against the majority of the meta.”

Solafid Jax Faie
Solafid’s Jax Faie

Jax Faie #23 (-15)
Average Rating: 22.13
Highest Rating: 10
Lowest Rating: 32

“Little known fact the very first deck I built and piloted to S-rank in my first month of playing Duelyst was a Mid-Range Faie list that finished with Jax and Razorback. So when I say it gives me a lot of personal joy to see it popping back up on the ladder you may think that it is because of nostalgia. But, it is not as you may expect, it is because this deck is not that good right now, and I like it when my opponents play not good decks. Actually, why am I even writing this people don’t need to get better at Duelyst… (Kirabi! Cut the feed! Kir? Buddy?) Apparently I am obligated to finish. Seriously don’t waste your time on this deck. Jax is individually a solid edition to some ramp/control decks sometimes but it is not worth building a deck around Jax anymore. The potential burst damage from Luminous Charge is higher, costs less, and isn’t as board-state dependent. I acknowledge that there is more going on in this deck than Jax + Razorback, however a deck has to stack up to competition that plays with the same cards and this compilation can not stand up to other decks in the same faction and design space.”
-Goodguy Hopper

Freud's Midrange Zir'an
Freud’s Midrange Zir’an

Midrange Ziran #22 (-6)
Average Rating: 21.25
Highest Rating: 10
Lowest Rating: 30

“Midrange Ziran has been a consistent force in the meta for multiple expansions by capitalizing on heal synergy to create high tempo plays in the mid game. The deck can be teched to deal with any meta which is what makes it such a prevalent deck. In my opinion the deck is a very powerful and is one of my top choices to run in tournaments because of its consistency and ability to be teched to deal with important threats.”

TM25Md's Aggro kaleos
TM25MD’s Aggro Kaleos

Aggro Kaleos #21 (+2)
Average Rating: 20.75
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 34

“One of the inherent problems with aggro decks at this point is that they are going to hit a wall of Swarm decks that are naturally dangerous for them. It is hard to get aggressive with smaller creatures if your opponent has a crap ton of their own little guys that they can use to keep the table clear. After accounting for that this deck does run Flamewreath and his 4bros. So much like the mid-range list it can do a lot of work off of the back of this exceptional card. This produces an effect like mid-range but… and there are a surprising number of swing match-ups while people are still feeling out the meta, that force you to change tactics. The end result is that this deck has a harder time transitioning and until the meta settles it will be difficult for this deck to compete with its mid-range counterpart.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Control Zirix #20 (1st time)
Average Rating: 20.25
Highest Rating: 8
Lowest Rating: 34

“I am going to start getting critical here because essentially these decks are pretend the meta isn’t the fast ‘burn hot’ meta game that it is. Control Zirix’s matchups against the wanderer decks are not significantly improved by their late game additions in comparison to the go fast strategies of aggro and midrange. Even midrange is tilted very deeply towards the aggro end of things pausing only to add the briefest of nods towards the wanderer decks in particular. The deck is essentially a worse version of an existing deck, and it seems foolish to play it competitively unless you simply enjoy the archetype.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Control Ciphyron #19 (1st time)
Average Rating: 20.13
Highest Rating: 11
Lowest Rating: 30

“Card stealing effects are inherently two for ones and so any time you have an opportunity to take a card from an opponent its raw card advantage value is very tempting. The previous statement is true in all CCGs but in Duelyst this is doubly true because you not only gain card advantage you also gain positioning. A card that was previously pinning you in the worst possible way is now defending in the best, a card that was blocking a critical path is now a high five buddy as your guys pass him by. ‘Sabotage’ style decks are always going to pop up in Duelyst because they are inherently strong in both of Duelyst’s macro aspects. In this case we are building around Grapnel Paradigm which plays well with Ciphyron’s BBS. Unfortunately Ciphy’s BBS is very passive and has the ‘plays to not lose’ aspect that kills a lot of cards. So while the deck can do some very dumb things, it is a sum greater than its parts in a meta that is running very fast.”
-Goodguy Hopper

Rhackers Titan Argy
Rhacker’s Titan Argy

Titan Lyonar #18 (-6)
Average Rating: 19.88
Highest Rating: 12
Lowest Rating: 31

“It is no secret that Titan decks are very versatile, and come in many different shapes and sizes. They can be heavily teched to beat nearly any meta, and do not fall easily despite their lack of ranged removal. Titan decks, in general, have a good match-up vs Magmar, as Magmar does not have the tools to beat artifacts, and cannot easily clear minions affected by the artifacts. Titan also has strong match-ups vs Abyssian and Vanar thanks to Magesworn. Magesworn shuts down Abyssian removal when positioned correctly, and in addition to turning off the removal from Vanar turns off the inevitable Warbird victory. This has the benefit of forcing the factions to be running some sort of dispel attached to a body. The most common form of this is EMP, but EMPing Magesworn clears the path for Titan. Magesworn is also good against spell-heavy lists such as Firestorm Mantra, but most of the good Songhai decks right now with be able to deal with Magesworn via Onyx Bear Seal or Eternity Painter.

One of the biggest weaknesses of Titan right now is that they have no reliable, good AoE removal. Strategos Brome and most other swarm decks will likely run you over in the early game, and you cannot out-value Strategos in the late game. Titan has a decent match-up vs Vetruvian once Titan has been reached, but it is a struggle to get there. Inclusions such as Azure Herald and Healing Mystic are very useful for improving these match-ups.

One of Lyonar’s greatest strengths is their incredibly statted early game. Windblade Adept and Silverguard Knight can be used to keep an iron fist on board control throughout the early and into the mid-game turns. Additionally, These can be used in combination with Repulsor Beast to clear back-line threats that in other decks spells would usually be used for. Other notable inclusions include Spelljammer and Sunset Paragon. Jammer is incredibly useful to have as you want to play two minions a turn to ensure you always have something on the board for Titan. This deck can empty its hand quite fast, but Spelljammer has your back, and also helps you to consistently draw Titan. Sunset Paragon, on the other hand, is included to give the deck some form of AoE. Strategos minions typically have HP > Attack, but Paragon can clear after punching their minions once. Some lists also run War Exorcist as the body is much better and provoke keeps you safe. However, it has been my experience that while this is a bold strategy most of the time it won’t go off. Opponents have a turn to play before the effect from War Exorcist activates and are regularly able to avoid the effect crippling them.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Swarm Brome #17 (-4)
Average Rating: 18.5
Highest Rating: 11
Lowest Rating: 26

“Although Swarm takes a back seat to Strategos decks, Swarm Brome is, in its own right, a force to be reckoned with. Although, There are many ways to build this archetype without Strategos they all follow a similar game plan. The deck takes early initiative with a swarm of high-HP minions, potentially alongside some high-power individual targets such as Auroara. From there it looks to buff these minions and beat down the opponent, using either Warblade and Congregation or Bolster and Liturgy. This can prove to be a nightmare for opponents whose decks do not have the proper tools; many games are decided as early as turn 3.

However, where this type of deck struggles is when playing from behind. Should a well-timed Thunderhorn or Plasma Storm clear your board, you will be forced to rebuild. Because of the popularity of Strategos the meta is somewhat teched against swarm strategies. Another issue the deck faces is lack of space. Because the deck is tight on space adding too many removal or draw cards to combat the current meta will decrease the consistency of your swarm strategy. And, Finding a balance between swarm and resilience has been difficult this season.”

Oracle's Wanderer Zriix
Oracle’s Wanderer Zirix

Wanderer Zirix #16 (1st time)
Average Rating: 17.63
Highest Rating: 3
Lowest Rating: 22

“You really can not gush enough about Wanderer as a top end player. The design brought highlander to Duelyst. If you had told me I would voluntarily play one-ofs in Duelyst a year ago I would have been very skeptical. This speaks a lot to the consistency and power of Wanderer. I am certain that we will soon see a nerf because of how dominating the card has been. While I would like to speak more on the success of Zirix as it has adapted to Wanderer it is hard to look past the centerpiece because of the meta warping impact it is having.”
-Goodguy Hopper

Alpha's Aggro Reva
Alpha’s Aggro Reva

Aggro Reva #15 (-4)
Average Rating: 16.38
Highest Rating: 2
Lowest Rating: 33

“Some things never change, and Aggro Reva being a good deck is one of them. Heck, even the optimal decklist hasn’t changed in a while, since the devs are scared to give Aggro Reva new tools. In this meta, aggro seems to have a place as it will do well against Trial decks and keep up with Vetruvian.

It aims to seize the board early. It is able to play the majority of its minions in the backline, then use teleportation spells to get favorable trades. Eventually there will come a time when you want to turn on the gas. At this point it will transition into a face deck, where it uses its unrivaled damage output to kill the opponent as quickly as possible. This is the deck that best utilizes neutral draw options and Thunderhorn.

Properly piloted, I believe it is one of the more powerful decks in the meta, and have results to back it up. However, the casual player beware! It is a very difficult deck to learn, with a lot of intricacies in both micro-positioning and macro-decision making. I have had multiple players approach me with bad win rates, and only after multiple games of coaching did they start to see results. Playing Team Wars with this deck, there were frequent turns where every single Disciple would have a different idea of the optimal play.

If you can learn to minimize the flaws of this deck, in particular its lack of hard removal, in order to leverage its raw power, then it will serve you very well indeed.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wanderer Lilithe #14 (+0) Video Review  Full Article
Average Rating: 15.25
Highest Rating: 10
Lowest Rating: 22

“So when I first wanted to explore Highlander as a concept I got handed this list by Intellect, and I was impressed with the results. My initial hesitation was that the deck would be too inconsistent, and the deck definitely impressed on that end. While by no means as consistent as its Highlander Reva counterpart, the deck has enough overlapping card functions to produce a very fluid game. One of the challenges of the deck is that it does have a dichotomous personality and at some point you are going to have to pick a game plan, and unlike what a mid-range deck can do you do not get to back off from that plan once you commit. The end result is that very early on when you make that decision you may have made or broken yourself and it is difficult to assess how many hundreds of games you would have to play in the same meta before you could be confident that you consistently made the right decision.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ramp Faie #13 (+4) Full Article
Average Rating: 14.63
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 23

“This was one of the lists that I picked up as I was coming back to the game. I thought it would be a pretty straight-forward list. Play ramp spells, get to big stuff, profit. Unfortunately things did not work out that way for me. I quickly learned that this deck is a harsh mistress, who gets upset at you when you don’t know specific match-ups, and like a dominating wife she will occasionally award you with an easy day. But, you normally have to work for her love and affection. I would not recommend this deck to a younger pilot because the decision making you are going to need to make is match-up dependent which means lots of testing hours. As to whether the deck is good or not: it really is. The deck can play out some opens that are nearly guaranteed wins, and has the ability to turn games around despite the fast meta. The deck is pretty tuned as is, and this may become one of the premier decks if the meta settles into something even slower.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Midrange Vaath #12 (-7)
Average Rating: 14.63
Highest Rating: 11
Lowest Rating: 20

“Trading some of the strong openings from Wanderer Ragnora, which is probably its chief competitor for this “style” of deck, Midrange Vaath gets extra synergy out of their dudes, and consistent access to some of the best anti-meta cards currently available. Although Wanderer has been very impressive in this season this is one of the few cases where it is going to get outperformed by an in-faction deck. Homeostatic rebuke and Plasma storm are that amazing right now, and the one card finisher that is Drogon is still pulling more weight than any mid-game card has a right to. The Mid-range Magmar shell has always been flexible in adjusting to the meta, and since this has been a very wild-west season a deck that is flexible in its adjustment to the unexpected while still having a powerful plan for when it is ahead is going to perform very well.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Extinction Event #11 (+4)
Average Rating: 14
Highest Rating: 8
Lowest Rating: 24

“The name ‘Extinction Event’ stuck for this deck, and it’s not hard to see why with the big flashy finisher (that goes off more than you might think) summoning oversized dinos to cave enemy skulls seems like the obvious thing to name it after. For my money though what really makes this deck is Zoetic Charm (but that name’s nowhere near as punchy). While in many matchups Zoetic Charm will give you an endless army of respawning dinos, and makes Progenitor way more reliable, I think knowing when it will and won’t be useful is a critical nuance of the deck. As a short piece of advice be aware that while mostly playing safely with your artifact charges will give you great value, often you won’t have that luxury.

Luckily enough even if you don’t draw Zoetic Charm or can’t play it safely the rest of the deck consists of; incredibly well-stated minions to hold the board, comeback plays like rebuke and makantor, and of course the deck’s namesake extinction event itself. Finally as if all of that wasn’t enough the deck has one of the high burst damage ‘ripper combos’ in the meta. Put it all together and it’s an impressive package that lives up to the name.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Midrange Kaleos #10 (-6)
Average Rating: 10.63
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 15

“Kaleos has long had the problem that he needs to have an active minion on board to truly work his magic, and this deck does still follow this game flow of set up and execution: set up a backstabber, next turn execute a backstab. Play a Thunderhorn, next turn execute a Chain. Play a Zendo, next turn execute your opponent with Killing Edge.

If Kaleos gets these chains moving it can be very hard to stop the snowball from getting out of control. However if Kaleos gets stopped in the set-up phase the reverse can also be true. Vetruvian’s excess of tempo-positive single target removal in particular can be a real downer for the man in Red. The good news for Kaleos players is that cards like Flamewreath, Painter, EMP, and Inner Focus/Assassination Protocol not only have immediate impact but also leave threats behind that your opponent can ill afford to leave unanswered.

Hopper’s comment last month about packaged trick plays is spot-on, and if you enjoy learning and spotting the best way to perform them every turn then Kaleos is the place to be.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Decimus Combo #9 (-6) Full Article
Average Rating: 8.88
Highest Rating: 4
Lowest Rating: 13

“Decimus and Tectonic Spikes are still strong. It is tempting to stop right there, but that wouldn’t really be fair for people not in the know. The big thing that this deck archetype has going for it is that because you know you can stash away 9+ damage in hand you can change a lot about how the deck has to be built to fight the meta. If the meta is really fast, which it currently is, then start by figuring out how to slow down the meta game with the 33 other cards in your deck. Then once you’ve gone way overboard shutting down the aggro dial it back down until you find a balance that gives you a favorable match-up against aggro and lets you compete with the other deck lists. I said this once a while back but it probably bears saying again, the combination of immediate board impact, hand reload, and on-board threat generated by Decimus and Tectonic Spikes is too powerful to ever completely exit any meta because they free up nearly all the rest of your deck to play however you need it to. In our current fluid meta this is going to be a particularly powerful list that may sit anywhere from mid to high tier, and would not be a bad investment sort of like the Ravager for modern in magic. It may not always be the best deck, sometimes it is, but it is always competitive. ”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Aggro Cassy #8 (+1) Full Article
Average Rating: 8.63
Highest Rating: 6
Lowest Rating: 13

“Aggro Cassyva is currently the best aggro deck in the game. It’s very versatile because it has both cheap single-target removal from Punish and Lure, as well as Grasp of Agony for AoE. Additionally, it can push a lot of damage going face with strong minions such as Void Talon or Bonecrusher, but also safely deal damage from range with Dark Seed or Flameblood Warlock. Finally, it has the edge in aggro mirrors because you get a lot of healing from Desolators and Void Pulses. However, it is worth noting that this deck struggles beating Strategos and other swarmy decks. This is especially true if you either don’t find your Grasp or your opponent plays well around it. Similarly, your opponent recognizing you play Dark Seed, they can empty their hand, leaving you with a dead card and potentially not enough damage to finish them off.”


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wanderer Reva #7 (-1) Full Article
Average Rating: 8.38
Highest Rating: 4
Lowest Rating: 19

“Described by DracoMoriarty as ‘…this is THE Wanderer list to go to right now.’ This deck first came to my attention when I was considering how best to abuse Wanderer and after a short chat with ErusianJay I was sold that this deck was worth playing. The deck went out of its way to reintroduce me back into the S-rank ladder, and as I blundered along relearning the game on the fly the deck would often hand me wins like ‘Hey you probably didn’t mean to do that, here is how you fix it.’ A deck with: a straight forward game plan, remarkable depth despite its linear plan, and more consistency than any deck filled with singletons has a right to be. I would be surprised if the deck doesn’t make the top 3 of nearly everyone’s list this season.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Strategoes Brome #6 (-4)
Average Rating: 7.5
Highest Rating: 3
Lowest Rating: 19

“One of the decks at the forefront of the new meta, Strategos Brome is a versatile and powerful deck. As the name suggests the deck revolves around the new Lyonar Mythron Grand Strategos. This deck is particularly strong as it can command the board in both the early and late game. The primary goal of the deck in the early game is to complete the Lyonar Trial while swarming the board so that Strategos will have the most impact when dropped. Post Strategos the goal of the deck is to just overwhelm your opponents as even a small board can provide an incredible amount of value. Jax Truesight plays a very important role in this deck as it is the strongest play you can make in order to progress the trial as well as the one of the most impactful plays you can make after the trial is completed. Jax is this strong because Jax will transform into a 7 drop while each Mini-Jax will promote into a 2 drop.

This deck may be strong but there are some ways to slow it down. The simplest way to beat the deck is to keep the pressure on their life total before the trial has been completed. Plasma Storm specifically will almost always clear the whole board in the early game and this can allow you to pressure Brome’s life enough that they will not be able to claw their way back into the game with the value generated by the completed destiny. Thunderhorn is another good tech card against the deck and if left unanswered can give you the opening to attack the general. An important detail to remember while playing against Strategos, with cards like Thunderhorn, is that Strategos decks have access to a wide variety of removal spells, and that it is your job as the pilot to identify and play around these spells to the best of your ability. “

Blobl's Wanderere Brome
Blob’s Wanderer Brome

Wanderer Brome #5 (1st time)
Average Rating: 6.88
Highest Rating: 2
Lowest Rating: 12

“At some point as a Duelyst Dev you have to say, ‘look at the monster we have created,’ and usually that moment is when a card becomes completely cross factional. With a, not jut playable but, good Wanderer Brome list popping up it is becoming very evident that Wanderer is completely cross factional. Although the Zirix and Kara versions are less common they are also not unheard of, and Brome is simply basking in the glory with his access to a creature based BBS. The tipping for Wanderer is that the decks are far more consistent then anyone really expected them to be, and Brome is no exception. Carrying the classic Lyonar dual purpose cards the deck plays with a Midrange feel boosted well into the late game by Wanderer’s Buff.”
-Goodguy Hopper


Alpha's Apex
Alpha’s Apex Combo

Apex Combo #4 (1st time)
Average Rating: 6
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 26

“DISCLAIMER: This deck is based on an interaction which is known to be an exploit of a bug. Playing it is unethical and you do so at your own risk.
Apex is the most effective OTK combo deck Duelyst has seen. The combo is simple:
Memevore says to burn 3 cards from your opponent whenever you summon a minion. Decimus says to deal 2 damage whenever your opponent draws a card. By some happy accident, Sibon’s leftover spaghetti ended up in the Duelyst code burning a card also counts as drawing, and so whenever you summon a minion with these two on the board you deal 6 to your opponent.
The missing pasta sauce in the equation is Evolutionary Apex. By some miracle, this summons all the minions at the same time, and so Decimus and Memevore both see every other minions summoned by Apex. The end result is that a hand of Decimus + Memevore + Apex + 3 other minions will deal 24 damage on 7 mana, with more damage possible with extra copies of Decimus or Memevore.
One of the reasons that this combo is so powerful is that it requires no previous setup, and so it is almost impossible to interact with. Should your opponent be able to corner you and stop you summoning 5 minions with Apex, sure, you will not be able to win, but this is incredibly hard to do in practice and is just something Magmar mains say so they can continue complaining about uninteractive Songhai combos. Another reason the combo is so powerful is that it is only 3 cards, and 7 mana is soon enough to always be relevant. Even the old-school “Trilucidator” combo required 4 cards and 8 mana.
The main reason that this is the best combo deck of all time is the rest of the deck. The combo is only 3 cards, and we let Starhorn, Aethermaster, and Spelljammer do the digging for us. As a result, we have a lot of deck space to play with. We can essentially fit most of a standard Starhorn list inside. This means that up until your combo turn, you will essentially be playing a normal Starhorn deck with a few fewer cards in hand. Everyone knows how hard it is to get an early lead against the Kujata-Metallurgist-Ragebinder-Lavaslasher-Makantor curve deck. Even if you do lose board, you have access to Plasma and Rebuke to avoid getting cornered. This combination makes it near impossible to win before the combo is assembled. With good luck, Aethermasters, Spelljammers, and Starhorn’s BBS, you should have the combo ready to go by 7 mana most of the time. Since it is very hard to beat an on curve Apex combo, the deck’s win rate has a very generous floor. I felt like I could just turn off my brain and play normal curve magmar, with the added caveat of never replacing a combo piece. In exchange for this minor inconvenience I am allowed to instantly win more than half my games on 7 mana. I think we can all be very thankful that this has been identified as an unintended interaction and we can look forward to a patch in the near future.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Midrange Zirix #3 (-2)
Average Rating: 5.13
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 16

“Although this deck has been rated lower than its aggro counterpart the two decks are very similar, and you have to start by considering why you might want to run a more midrange looking shell. Although the wanderer lists are not completely outclassed by aggro versions of zirix they do have a solid game against the aggro version. The midrange lists biggest selling point is that its matchup is slightly better against the wanderer lists because of its inclusion of midrange combo pieces such as fault and Kinematic Projection. This comes at the price of running slower and not being able to go ‘underneath’ as often as the aggro lists do.”
-Goodguy Hopper

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wanderer Ragnora #2 (+8) Video Review
Average Rating: 3.63
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 6

“At some point we have to accept that almost any ‘Wanderer’ list is going to perform well because there are enough neutral cards to support the archetype. The question then becomes more about what support cards the faction itself offers, and more importantly what their Bloodbound Spell has to offer. Ragnora can get scary fast with Wanderer online, and has the added benefit of getting a lottery ticket on having Flash Reincarnate in the opening hand. High end player have tuned this list into one of the most frightening in the game even going as far to play two flash in the main deck to increase their odds of getting an early wanderer. For those hesitant consider this: The deck will get a mana four wanderer 44.2% of the time as player 2 and 51.1% as player 1 if it runs two flashes. As an examination of how often does having two flashes hurt you; As player two 57.4% of the time you will see a flash on or before mana six, and as player 1 you have an 63.0% chance of seeing flash on or before mana 6. The end result is that in about 46% of your games you will get to play a mana four Wanderer if you run two flashes, and for this in about 40% of your games you will not get to play a wanderer ‘on time*.’ If you are looking for advice on when this trade off is ‘good’ the short answer is in single elimination tournaments and on the ladder. In swiss rounds you would want to play one flash instead. If you need to find out more about how and when to play high variance decks you can find that in my guide on how to win tournaments here.”
-Goodguy Hopper

*Ed – Link to the math for getting Flash.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Aggro Zirix #1 (+0)
Average Rating: 2
Highest Rating: 1
Lowest Rating: 4

“Accumulonimbus with Fireblaze Obelysk is independently strong enough for decks to be based off their interaction. Aggro Zirix is the deck that capitalizes on that combo the best by combining it with the speed of dervishes and with tempo removal such as sand swirl reader. Cards that push damage while halting the opponent’s game plan such as rasha’s curse and blood of air are icing on the cake. These factors combined with the strength aggro decks have in the meta right now makes Aggro Zirix one of if not the best decks in the current meta.”

Unrated –

Josh's Midrange Argy
Josh’s Midrange Argy

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

AlphaCentury's HyperSwarm Lilithe
AlphaCentury’s Hyperswarm Lilithe
Deaht's Ramp Maehv
Deathsadvocate’s Ramp Maehv
Death's Bottomless Abyss
Deathsadvocate’s Bottomless Abyss
AlphaCentury's Mech Starhorn
AlphaCentury’s Mech Starhorn
Meltdown's Aggro ilena
Meltdowntown’s Aggro Ilena

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Death's Wall Kara
Deathsadvocate’s Wall Kara
Imnotacrook's Aggro Faie
Imnotacrook’s Positioning Faie
JackusMaximus1's Razorback Faie
JackusMaximus1’s Nemeton Kara

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.