Positioning 101: The Three Fundamental Stances

by Counterplay Games  /  June 27, 2016

Chapter 1:
The Birth of the Grasshopper

Welcome, grasshopper, to the Temple of Enlightenment. I see that you have come seeking quick wisdom, but know that while knowledge may be given freely it is only through practice that you will achieve mastery.

Come sit, pull out your paper and pen so we can discuss the finer points of positioning on the battlefield. Let’s start by drawing a classic tic-tac-toe board, just like the one below. In this case, consider Reva as the opponent’s general:

Good! We now have a grid which we can use to communicate. For the entirety of this lesson position five is going to be where your opponent is standing.

Now, because of how the battlefield in Duelyst is constructed, if we assume an empty board there are really only three unique positions you can stand in relation to your opponent: Positions two, three, and six. Everything else is a mirror of one of these three positions. Let’s look at each of these positions’ advantages and disadvantages.

(Position Two)

This position limits the vertical movement of the enemy general and presents a threat to their front and back from the minions you play. This is an offensive posturing that provides exceptional freedom of movement to both your and the opponent’s general. It encourages them to try and protect their minions by moving forward into your side of the board, or less commonly back into their own side of the table.

These options or stacking their minions are the opponent’s best bets for protecting his or her minions. This position is exceptional at attacking minions that will be played, but it makes it easy for your opponent to drop into the perfect Provoke position (see example #1 below) along the bottom wall.

(Position Six)

This position limits the horizontal movement of the enemy general and only threatens the front and back of your opponent’s general and their minions. This position provides aggressive posturing that is best suited to pressing your attacking advantage towards the opponent’s general instead of attacking their minions. When put in this position, your opponent’s best possibility for defending himself or herself is to move two spaces down towards the wall, but without the potential body block + Provoke that the wall offers from Position Two.

As we can see from Example 1, when the enemy general moves two spaces down towards the bottom wall, even if you dispel the Provoke minion its body will continue to block your way. However, from Position Six, if the Provoke minion was dispelled you would then be able to attack the enemy general (see Example #2 below). The fact that it is only possible to Provoke your general, but not to body block it is what makes Position Six the superior offensive position for attacking the enemy general.

(Position Three)

This is the most defensive positioning available. It allows you to play a minion at the angle immediately away from your opponent so he or she can’t reach it with their general’s body (See Example 3). Additionally, should you need to withdraw from the engagement, the Defensive Stance allows you to move at the angle away from the enemy general and place a minion between you (See Example 4). This will keep the opposing general from being able to reach you instead.

Moving into this position is a preparatory step, and you only get to take advantage of it during your next turn. However, because this is a two-step maneuver the player who moves into it first actually gives the opponent the opportunity to take advantage of it. So if they so choose, they can move into the defensive stance in response to you preparing it and either defend a minion or play a minion that can body block for their general a turn before you can. Put simply, you took the preparatory step for them.


Now that we’ve covered the three fundamental stances of Duelyst, let us review what we’ve learned today:

A Clearing Position is used to maintain aggressive posturing towards your opponent’s minions.
– The Defensive Position consists of a two-part maneuver that lets you withdraw.
Aggressive Positions should be taken when your goal is to attack your opponent.


Next week’s article is going to contemplate how these basic forms may be expanded to apply to minions.

Now go forth grasshopper, and during the upcoming week remain mentally aware of how you are positioning yourself in relation to your opponent. Before you move your general ask yourself, “On this following turn do I want my general to attack my opponent’s general, my opponent’s minions, or do I need to start playing defensively.” If you ask yourself this question before each of your general’s moves these positioning maneuvers will become automatic, and you will be well prepared for our next lesson.

Before I let you go, I would like to give a special thank you to Affinity for helping make this article as good as it can possibly be, without him you would probably be reading a wall of disjointed text 😉

If you ever need anything you can hit me up here:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Goodguy_Hopper
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/goodguyhopper

Best of Luck,
– James “Goodguyhopper” Hopper