Good evening Duelyst Fam, GGH here. I have been a little lax on my article writing while I prepped for and played the Mythron launch tournament. While I was getting ready for the tournament the Legacy format made me examine where Duelyst was back in 2016 and where it has arrived today. Changes that were not always received with the fanfare they deserved have proven to be good design decisions, and things only seem to be getting even better more recently.
While occasionally cards come out that make me shake my head all of the big changes have proven to be correct, and the cards get their own in time. It is because historically the big changes are spot on that I was initially hesitant to write this article. But, I am confident, after much contemplation, that I’ve stumbled onto a golden idea.
Here is the basics of the idea: On your very first turn your Bloodborn spell is active but it will deactivate if not used. If activated it will pull from your deck and play a random card with mana cost equivalent to your currently available mana. This card will be played to a targeted location nearby your general. If it is not used it goes on recharge and becomes available again according to the current rules governing BBS. If it is used it goes on recharge and wont be available for one additional turn on its first cycle then will resume availability based on the current rules.
The idea is pretty basic and would be fairly easy to implement, because it is an adjustment to existing elements. But, if implemented it would make a number of improvements to the game.
What improvements would this change make and how?
I want to emphasize that many of these problems are “not” major problems with Duelyst. This idea is not something that has to happen to “fix” the game but rather an idea that could revolutionize the game and make it even better.
The first thing that would happen is pretty obvious you can not ever miss your opening turn. This is really important in Duelyst and most of the times games that start with either player being unable to contest the man tiles end in a loss for the player who couldn’t contest. Worse it is an ugly painful that the player had no control over. The player could have done everything right but because we are playing a card game they happened to bite the bullet on this one. You can also take note that I was careful in how I worded the effect for the new Blood Borne Spell. It is not possible to play a one mana creature and then grab an orb as player one with the new BBS because you can only play the creature next to your general. Additionally, by saying to use all available mana you are eliminating the ability to use the BBS and then play a second creature off of your first. If you are going second you could play a two drop and then use the BBS to get a second two drop or your could use the BBS to get a three drop and play a one drop off of collecting the mana tile. The goal here is to eliminate the “dead draw” games where you happen to not have an opening play.
The second thing that will improve is that decks will not need to run as many two drops. One of the things that has happened is that nearly all of the decks run between seven and ten, two drops right now. These two drops account for about one-fourth of the cards in all decks. This has had a homogenizing effect on the meta as the opening shell of every deck looks very similar whether it is aggro, midrange, or control because all decks need to compete for mana tiles. This change to BBS opens up a lot of deck design space, and also opens up design space for the release of future standard rotations because you no longer have to make sure that there are an abundance of different “good” two drops for players to use.
The third thing that will happen is that there will be greater design separation between aggro, mid range, and control decks. I sort of brushed against this lightly earlier but if you think about it control decks are going to run only one two-drop relying on their BBS to pull it up for them when going first. That opens 6+ card slots in their deck, and they no longer look anything like an aggro deck. Aggro decks will still want to run several two drops so that they can stay mana efficient and press an early advantage. Sort of jumping backwards here but it even means that it won’t be as big an issue to design cards that are “for aggro” or cards that are “for control.”
Evidence that this could work
The development team laid the foundation for this idea for me when they introduced mythron cards. My first though was, “oh its like commander.” And of course it very much is, especially for Mythron Wanderer. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a criticism of implementing the trial cards. Far from it in fact I think any time you see something working in another game you need to take a good look to see if it would benefit yours. The Mythron cards are limited to one per deck but you will for sure have access to them, they have specific requirements that enforce unique deck archetypes. This is all good stuff, and it got me thinking what if there was a way to broaden the deck design space using this concept of “a card you can count on.” The adjustment to the blood borne spell was a product of tinkering with that idea over the last two weeks. Another example from magic the gather is mental magic or off the top in both of those formats any card can be played face down as a land. Both are very fun formats and one of the great things about them is that everyone gets to play.
In an attempt to have some foresight, I wanted to talk about some potential problem cards that might need to be changed in advance of changing the blood borne spell functionality.
Biomemetic Hulk – Make sure that it comes in
Crystal Wisp – This could be problematic if Wisp is that consistent.
Shivers – Same problem as Wisp
Aethermaster – This is probably okay but it becomes the default card for combo decks.
Cryptographer – You would have to check the interaction and make sure it didn’t give a copy of the first turn blood borne spell. Otherwise players essentially get a “tutor” for whatever mana they are on.
Manaforger – Possibly dangerous for the same reasons as wisp and shivers.
Alcuin Loremaster – Same potential problem as Cryptographer.
Komodo Hunter – Would need to make sure the opening gambit is triggering correctly off of the new BBS otherwise this is a 5/6 with no drawback.
Zyx – Being over cautious about not letting the new BBS be used to change how orbs are competed for and having a zyx trigger to grab an extra orb on the first turn is obnoxious.
I know that the intended audience for this article is a little narrow but I hope that if you got here you enjoyed the idea. I really do think this could help broaden the meta game by making decks more unique, games more consistent, and help diversify the cards that are being played. Currently there is no such thing as “tempo” in Duelyst because all decks by necessity must have tempo or they do not work. This has the impact of placing major emphasis on card advantage focused cards that attempt to get two for one value. Humorously you end up with control decks that can’t help but get on the aggressive because they got a leg up because all of their early game two-drops that they put there to compete for orbs just happened to show up. Essentially every deck is midrange right now and we only talk about how to distinguish between those decks on what the end game cards look like. If we start creating a greater rift between aggro and control we are going to see some wonderful design come out of it. Also, you will never again have a player get frustrated because they “didn’t get to play the game.” Because everyone who can manage to put at least one two drop and one three drop in their deck will get to play the game.
Guys, Devs in particular, I can’t say that I have thought of everything here but I really believe I have a good idea that will change the game for the better. If you think you can help me flesh it out a little more please feel free to message me.
Thank you very much for your time,