Welcome folks! If you’re just discovering Duelyst for the first time (or potentially rediscovering Duelyst after a long hiatus), boy do I have some good news for you! This article is all about the Newlyst to Duelyst Cup!
The Newlyst to Duelyst Cup is a tournament series where novice players can dip their proverbial toes into the Duelyst competitive scene. The first Newlyst tournament was (in my humble opinion) a wild success, so much so that I’m back doing a second. The official tournament rules (which you can find here) have a few safeguards designed to keep out any long-time community veterans that might otherwise make life hard for newer folks to the game.
In particular, the Newlyst tournament limits the playable card pool to only Common, Basic and Rare. No Epic and Legendary cards allowed. Phew! Now you won’t have to go up against any unfair Arclyte Regalias or Spectral Revenants if you play in the Newlyst to Duelyst Cup that’s for sure. What, pray tell, should you play though? Well, that’s what I’m hoping to answer today. If you’re looking to play in the tournament, here are some hidden gems that you maybe ought to consider playing in your deck if you want to participate.
One note before we start. I’m going to shy away from highlighting what I would consider obvious staples. Generally speaking, if non-budget, tournament-viable decks are running cards, chances are those cards are good enough for budget tier lists as well.
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I know I literally just got down saying I wouldn’t talk about tournament-viable all stars, but I want to specifically highlight Bloodtear Alchemist anyway. Why? Well, in the last Newlyst tournament, almost no one ran him. Seriously. I remember actually commenting about how surprised I was that Bloodtears were nowhere to be found when casting the tournament with Envybaer.
It might not be apparent at first blush, but Bloodtear Alchemist is a very powerful card. I honestly think he’s one of the more powerful minions in the entire game. He’s innocuous, but the tempo you can derive from his effect and cost is pretty high. Don’t feel like you have to include him because of this glowing endorsement, but don’t overlook him guys. He’s better than he looks.
These guys, and Stormmetal Golem in particular, were actually the inspiration for this article. For 6 mana, you’re not going to find much of a better bang for your buck than an 8/8. The only undefeated player from the last Newlyst event, Zabiool, was running Stormmetal Golem and it’s understandable as to why. They aren’t susceptible to dispel, have ridiculous stats, and most decks don’t have an efficient answer to them.
While I didn’t see any in the last tournament, I think other golems could also see play. In particular, Golem Metalurgist seems like a great 2-drop if you plan on running even a few other golems in your deck. I’m not sure if an army of vanilla creatures is good enough, but I’m certainly interested in seeing if anyone tries.
Similarly, First Sword of Akrane offers up huge stats for 6-mana, albeit trading a few points on the front and back for a potentially powerful ability. She probably is better than her golem counterpart in decks that like to spam the board with lots of minions, like Lilithe, Zirix, or Reva.
How to counter these token generating deck? Perhaps with Gauntlet powerhouse Crimson Oculus. If your opponent doesn’t have a timely dispel effect, it’s easy to see why this eyeball slug thing is so powerful. Speaking of which…
I highly encourage the use of dispel minions in this event, and Lightbender in particular. He just leads to so many blowouts, I’m honestly surprised I don’t see him more on the S-Rank ladder. If you’ve got other “dispel-esque” effects (like Egg Morph, Aspect of Wolf, or Dark Transformation), these guys aren’t as required. I probably wouldn’t leave home without a few though.
Both of these Arcanysts are legal for this tournament and both work exceptionally well together. Even without further trbal synergies, these cards can do some powerful things just in conjunction with one another. Add in some Mindwarpers or Manaforgers though and you have generate a sacry board awfully quickly. I personally love Arcanyst decks, and I really hope we get to see some on the tournament stream.
Warning: we’re getting into “pet card” territory with these last two.
I’ve long held that Frostbone Naga is playable on the regular ladder, and every now and again I’ll see it played. In terms of a budget option, I’m convinced it’s one of the better AoE cards you can be playing. It’s efficiently costed, leaves a reasonable body behind, and people don’t really play around it particularly well.
Okay, this is my real pet card. I don’t know as if I’ve ever seen anyone else ever play this card. Why not?! It’s a 3-mana minion that effectively puts 8 points of stats on the board. That’s way over the top in a mana-per-stat ratio. Often times, Songweaver even lets you trade up guys or control the board when you otherwise wouldn’t. Surprise! Your Primus Fist now just cleared their Primus Fist effectively for free. Who knows. Maybe I’m way off with this card, but I’d like to think Songweaver is a hidden gem that just hasn’t been polished yet.
Honorable Mention: Silhouette Tracer
I asked on my Twitter what cards folks would suggest for this article and Tracer came up more than once. It definitely has it’s place in a Vaath deck to get close or a Cassyva deck to run away, and while I probably wouldn’t run it myself in this tournament, I’ll note it here based on popular opinion.
I’m going to be a little more judicious with my picks in the faction cards. Again, I’m not going to highlight the obvious inclusions (i.e. anything played in a normal ladder deck). Rather, I’m going to try and pick out some underused cards that might shine in the budget meta.
This isn’t exactly a wild pick, as it’s occasionally played in deck on ladder. That said, more often than not, it sits on the sidelines and I don’t particularly think it should stay there for this event. Lasting Judgment is cheap and clears some idiots that might otherwise prove problematic. You can kill a Crimson Oculus or Bloodmoon Priestess before it gets out of control or down a unit like Wings of Paradise that you wouldn’t normally be able to attack and kill. I love having access to removal. Just think of Lasting Judgment as an okay but not quite as good Phoenix Fire.
Okay. We’ve come to the first card where people are almost certainly like “wait, what?” My thoughts behind Sunstone Bracers is all theory crafting so take them with a grain of salt, but if the vast majority of folks are going to be running out 2/3s in the early game, Sunstone Bracers provides a zero-cost way to easily deal with such threats. This artifact really wants to be played in a tempo-heavy deck to keep the opponent’s board clean while developing your own. Again, I’m not saying this is 100% an incredible card; I do think it deserves a second look.
This 4/4 pairs well with both Zir’an and Argeon’s BBS. He also conveniently works well with Divine Bond, which I assume will be a staple in most if not all Lyonar decks in the event.
Killing Edge is a great card in its own right. It provides incredible power, occasionally also netting a card draw in the process. Perhaps more importantly, when combined with a ranged unit, it can often run away with a game. Heartseeker has fallen a little out of favor over the past few months, but in this event I could easily imagine a world where a 5/3 ranged unit on turn two effortlessly snowballs into victory. I also love hooking a Heartseeker up with Deathstrike Seal, a combo which is even more powerful in a deck helmed by Reva due to that inherent, inevitable synergy.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Celesital Phantom but it’s never quite gotten the love I think it deserves. Without access to the Epic Onyx Bear Seal—generally the go-to outright removal spell for Songhai—the faction needs a way to deal with, say, a 6-mana 8/8. Celestial Phantom isn’t always the most efficient way to do so, but he’s one of the best ways I can think of not using Legendary or Epic cards.
I remember Pyormancer as a scourge of the ladder when I first started playing Duelyst many moons ago. Times may have changed since then, but in a world where he’s left uncontested, the little 2/1 blaster can run amok on opposing forces. He’s dealt with fairly easily—*cough* Bloodtear Alchemist *cough*—but he’s likely still a solid pick for either Vetruvian general’s 2-drop slot.
I am obsessed with having answers for Stormmetal Golem apparently. I like Entropic Decay as a nice, clean way to deal with a host of threats, be they Primus Shieldmaster, Spirit Harvester, or Ironcliffe Guardian.
In what is becoming a trend, I’m pushing unconditional removal. For real ya’ll, have answers to opposing threats. Dark Transformation is also helpful in “dispelling” some creatures, like Sunsteel Defender or Veteran Silithar. Abyssian has other ways to deal with singular threats, e.g. Daemonic Lure, but I’d still probably pack one or two ways to deal with something huge permanently.
Call it a hunch, but I think this card might go up in stock in this tournament. I imagine we’ll be seeing a lot of creatures that Nightsorrow kills extremely efficiently. Just to name a few off the top of my head: Crimson Oculus (it dies before the bonus), any Obelysk, Sojourner (probably the biggest reason to run this card), maybe even Kolossus? Yeah, the body sucks, but just think of it as having a huge upside (you get a free body with your removal spell!) rather than a understated minion with a mediocre effect.
Swarm decks strike fear into the hearts of their opponents with Deathfire Crescendo. Fortunately, that’s not playable in this tournament. It’s little brother Shattersoul Pact is though. While useless without a proper board, Shattersoul can steal a game from out of nowhere or clear an otherwise imposing army.
I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what to write about for Magmar. The cards that I would urge folks to run are already heavily played in ladder decks. Aside from Makantor Warbeast and some expensive legendaries, I’m not sure the faction loses much as a whole. I’d hope that folks play with Diretide Frenzy in conjunction with rush minions like Elucidator and/or Saberspine Tiger, but even that isn’t a play that’s terribly uncommon on ladder. My only real “sleeper” card for Magmar would be Kolossus; who knows though
While not that popular on ladder, when the Vespyr deck gets going, it’s usually on the back of Glacial Elemental. The ability to plow through an opponent’s forces merely by casting something like Bonechill Barrier or a few Snowchasers is no joke. I usually hate the Vespyr tribe in terms of power, but I think it has the tools to play a really unfair game in this no-Epic, no-Legend meta. If a non-face Vanar deck does well, I bet it will be Vespyr-themed if only because of this guy.
I haven’t seen Mark of Solitude played in a long while on ladder and I’m not exactly sure why. It can turn even the most innocuous minion into a huge threat. More importantly though, it can turn any ranged unit into a furious, minion-murdering machine. Try dealing with a 5/5 Mini-Jax and let me know how you fare.
A goofy card, I like Polarity for a couple reasons. First, it lets you “kill” a few imposing threats. Not only does it completely destroy Obelysks for zero mana, it also lets you deal with some harder to deal with threats like Ironcliffe Gaurdian, Sojourner (it at least limits them to a single card), or (my personal favorite) Second Sun (and yes, it kills this minion outright). I’m not sure it’s particularly an autoinclude, but if you’re facing Lyonar or Vetruvian, you could do a lot worse.
Finally, Avalanche. Avalanche is that card on ladder where you’re like, “Eh, he probably isn’t running it” and then he is and then you’re like “Who runs that card!” and then you die. It’s so incredibly powerful for its cost and, I guess more importantly, I’m not sure that opponents will be looking to play around its rather specific effect in this new player focused event. I imagine a fair number of folk will find the tables quickly turned on them when they unwisely tread into enemy territory.
Well there you have it! Again, these cards were more meant to spark inspiration for folks unsure of what to run if they planned on replacing the verboten cards in their decklists with other fare. Some may be too cute, but I love finding uses for underloved cards, so there you go. Finally, don’t forget to sign up for the event! It’s got great prizes, doesn’t take too long, and is the perfect opportunity to see what the whole Duelyst competitive scene is about.