Welcome to Pylons’s Squad Camp, Duelyst pros! Some of you may not think of yourselves as pros yet, but you will be soon!
Let me introduce myself: My name is Pylons. I’m a massive nerd and I love Duelyst. Within the community, I offer advice on deck building and deck tinkering—as well as providing my own personal deck lists. I’m here to offer some thoughts on how to develop your own lists from scratch — to “teach a man to fish” as the saying goes. So let’s get started!
First, let’s define some lingo: A squad is your finalized deck, something you created for yourself to play. A deck is just something you copied from someone else. An inescapable is something we cannot avoid, usually set by the game itself. A must is something we cannot avoid most of the time if we want to be able to win. Finally, a guideline is something I set to keep myself—and you, future squad builders—in line.
The inescapable: a squad is made up of thirty-nine cards, spells/minions/artifacts, and one General. This is a simple fact, but it’s actually super useful. Keeping in mind how much deck space you have is key to maintaining a good curve and a coherent deck.
The must: You must play 2-mana minions (2-drops). Due to the mana springs, most factions cannot get away with any less than six 2-drops. Being unable to contest and claim the mana tiles early can and will lead to defeat. Some factions want to play even more than this. The Lyonar faction, for example, often wants to play nine 2-drops so they can have one on Turn 1 and when they get six mana for 2-drop + Holy Immolation. We’ll talk about exceptions to this later.
The set of guidelines: You want to run 3-ofs of cards that you want to see every game, often multiple copies (example: running three Windblade Adept means Windblade Adept is a 3-of in your deck). You want to run 2-ofs of cards you want to see in most games, and rarely want the second copy. A 1-of is a singleton card, so you’re not going to see it every game, so only run 1-ofs if you can either cycle a lot/draw a lot or have it teched in for a certain matchup that is likely to go long or will auto-win you the game if it does show up. For example: you always want Windblades and Mystics, but you don’t always want to draw Grandmaster Zir or lots of Tempest cards.
There are a couple different ways to approach building your squad, but my favorite, and the easiest, is The Four Steps method.
THE FOUR STEPS:
- Decide on your Win Condition.
- Add cards that support your win condition.
- Add cards that will efficiently disrupt your opponent’s win condition.
- Add cards that will compliment what you currently have.
Step One is important to do first as it establishes your game plan. This makes the entire squad building process much easier. Having a plan is very nice. In Lyonar, this would be Divine Bond. Your game plan becomes to stick a minion with a decent amount of health on the board.
Step Two is often what people may not understand correctly: We’ll be going more in depth on this in later weeks, but you can’t just stick a win condition in a deck with no support. Following with the Lyonar example, you need to run some high-health minions such as Ironcliffe Guardian and Dioltas’ Tombstone, or your win condition does nothing.
Step Three includes removal spells and tech cards. It’s also the most overdone. A deck with all removal spells can’t win against a deck that doesn’t use its minions as a win condition or plays around your removal. It’s better to have some good, multi-purpose answers than try to tech your deck out in such a way to counter everything. In Lyonar, you can run Repulsor Beast, Martyrdom, Circle of Life, or Lasting Judgement, but you only really need to run 3 or 4 total removal. 2 Martyrdom and a Circle of Life is good enough.
Step Four seems simple, but it’s the most important. Learning to evaluate card synergy is key, and it should be said that card draw (spelljammer, sojourner) also go here and that is very important. Ending again with Lyonar, this includes things like Windblade Adept and Azurite Lion. I’d like to include some kind of card draw and maybe some other big threat like Elyx Stormblade, Arclyte Regalia, or Pandora.
In the upcoming segments, I’m going to make a deck for each General from scratch and explain my card choices using the four steps method. Next week will be Lyonar, but I encourage all of you to try using the four step method to build a Lyonar squad before then so you can compare it to my own. Until then, cheers!
You can follow me on twitter @arcanefocus and find me on the Duelyst Official Discord server as Pylons | TMA | C67. I’m always open to chatting with Duelyst players!