Hello everyone! It’s AlphaCentury, back at last! In this article, I thought it would be interesting to take a more scientific, data-driven approach to the Duelyst metagame. In particular, I wanted to find out what the most played cards in the game are.
Thankfully, RHacker has recently been taking on a huge initiative by compiling the decklists from the whole of S Rank’s Top 50 each month. If you want these decklists or some more general metagame statistics you should check out his article first!
I used all the decklists from the July and August S Rank Top 50 as my data set. Then, using the magic of Python, I was able to compile a document with the total number of occurrences of each card. The full results document will be linked at the end of the article.
First, some general comments. Since all factions see play, and most decks play some neutrals, we can expect to see mostly neutral cards. Even if X faction card is played in every single deck of its faction, there are still six factions. So it will rank similarly to a neutral played in 1/6th of all decks. The impact of Wanderer will also be lower, since it obviously only runs singletons.
With that out the way, let’s begin the countdown of the Top 10 Cards of Summer 2018.
Bloodbound Mentor: Coming in at number ten, the wise owl is a very versatile card. For many generals, maximizing your BBS usage can be very important. He also has good body for his cost, synergizes with Cryptographer, and can be used as card draw. As such, this little guy finds a home in many decks.
Key archetypes: Vanar, Wanderer, Lilithe.
Blistering Skorn: At number nine, Skorn is a little bit of a surprise. Although classically heralded as tech against swarm, Skorn has a lot more to offer: he can help find good trades, clear artifacts, Eggs, and Heartseekers. In this meta of Reva and Ragnora, clearly Skorn is a strong enough card to include in the maindeck.
Key archetypes: Fault, Wanderer.
Makantor Warbest: Makantor is the only faction minion to make this list, and I think we all know why. The board control, face damage, and positioning respect he brings to the table makes him probably the strongest card in the game. The fact that a faction minion made this list at all just shows how well-represented Magmar is, and how ubiquitous Makantor is.
Key archetypes: Every single Magmar deck.
Rainbow Pony: This guy was another surprise to me, but it definitely makes sense that he is here. The pony offers a cheap and effective way for all factions to kill a Wanderer. On top of that, he is also a versatile board clear and comeback mechanic for a number of decks. It seems the pony has, at least for now, moved from tech card to meta mainstay.
Key archetypes: Zir’an, Titan, Ebon Ox.
Celebrant: Again, this card was not on my radar, but his presence in many meta decks is definitely felt. On top of being a cornerstone of golem decks, the ramp Celebrant offers makes him useful for a variety of decks with more expensive cards.
Key archetypes: Fault, Strategos, Ebon Ox, Wanderer.
Healing Mystic: Once the gold standard of 2-drops, Mystic has fallen off a little bit as decks find better options. Or so I thought. However, Mystic still makes his appearance in a number of diverse decks, as well as being essential to Zir’an. It appears that the “turn one mystic” legend continues.
Key archetypes: Zir’an, Titan, Wanderer.
Spelljammer: When it comes to card draw, few decks have an option better than Spelljammer. Jammer also fills in a generic, good, 4-drop, which is competitive with many faction 4-drops. Personally, when building a “fair” deck, I almost always start by adding 3x Jammer. For this reason, she was my choice for #1 here.
Key archetypes: Aggro Reva, Zir’an, Eggs, everything.
Bloodtear Alchemist: There is a reason why people say pings are overpowered in Duelyst. This reason costs 1 mana and has a 2/1 body. Bloodtear often flies under the radar, but is without a doubt one of the most powerful cards in the game. If a deck has enough draw to support him, Bloodtear will happily help early trading, and shore up Rag and Reva matchups.
Key archetypes: Fault, Ebon Ox, Titan.
Cryptographer: With Jammer and Bloodtear taking spots 4 and 3, I was curious what cards were 2 and 1. The answer makes perfect sense. Most strong decks make use of a strong BBS, and Cryptographer is the best way to take advantage of it. This 2-drop will find his way into more decks than you realize and can take on a completely different role in each deck.
Key archetypes: Eggs, Vanar, Wanderer, Vaath.
Azure Herald: Taking the crown as the most played card of Summer 2018 is Azure Herald. He deserves it – most decks will try to find room for healing and no card does healing better than Herald. He is the most solid neutral 2-drop in the game. This dual function makes him great both in the early and late- game, and the three points of healing he provides is crucial for any slower minion-based deck.
Key archetypes: Zir’an, everything.
So there you have it folks! But wait, there’s more! For those of you interested in the most played faction cards, I have put a list below:
- Sunrise Cleric
- Trinity Oath
- Gold Vitriol
- Silverguard Knight
- Phoenix Fire
- Mist Dragon Seal
- Battle Panddo
- Blood of Air
- Sandswirl Reader
- Scion’s First Wish
- Daemonic Lure
- Darkfire Sacrifice
- Inkling Surge
- Ritual Banishing
- Makantor Warbeast
- Flash Reincarnation
- Homeostatic Rebuke
- Natural Selection
- Hailstone Prison
- Malicious Wisp
- Luminous Charge
- Gravity Well
And for those of you who want to see the whole story, here is a link to the full spreadsheet so you can do your own analysis. If you want, you can even find out what is the most played 6 mana Vetruvian spell…
With that said, I have made a Python script to do most of this work, so if you guys are interested in seeing these statistics in the following months it is very possible. Until then, however, I hope you have enjoyed this data-driven insight into the current S Rank meta. Thank you all for reading, and go subscribe to AlphaCentury on Youtube and Twitch because we will have more content coming soon! ❤