FatMatth3w’s First Commandment of Duelyst

                Duelyst has a unique feature to it that allows you to replace cards at the start (or any part) of your turn. There are two types of replacing in Duelyst actually – the first one is at the start of the game, you can replace two unfavorable cards for two random new ones. Note that in this process, you may return the same card. This is called a mulligan. I don’t know why and I’ll never refer to it as that again so don’t worry about memorizing it or anything, I’ve got you covered with the whole learning a language to play a video game thing, remember?

                The second type of replacing is the interesting one. This type of replacing can be at the start, erm, excuse me, at any point during your turn. You can replace a card in your hand for another card you would have in your deck – randomly. However, unlike the first example, the same card cannot be returned.

                Why is this important? Well – because of math reasons. Again, I rely on people a little better with numbers than myself for tasks involving statistics and probabilities.

                At first, the replace mechanism can seem a little weird. Why replace cards? What if I want to hold on to this good card and use it later? Well the …the answer has to do with none other than Duelyst’s main currency – mana.

                If we continue with the analogy that mana is a currency that we need to spend in order to act, then we need to understand that fundamentally, it is most likely a good idea to always spend as much money as possible and as efficiently as possible. This goes into deckbuilding, which I won’t get into yet, but replacing really comes in handy when you are trying to efficiently use your mana points each turn. Mana saved is mana wasted. Try to avoid it, unless a cheaper play is a better one or the situation is more complicated than the scope of this article.

The Pre-Game Replace(Mulligan)- The choices I got rid of (6 mana minions on my first turn?) and the result the Pre-Game Replace (bottom left).
Replacement of the 6 mana minion that I received another copy of on my Pre-Game Replace (bottom right)

                So which card do you replace, and when? Well for starters, during the beginning it’s common for most people to swap out their two or their most high cards at the beginning to line up their first second and maybe third turns.

                After that, a player relies on their once-a-turn (preferably at the beginning – but we’re getting there) replace to hope that their deck consistency allows them to draw the cards they need to appropriately spend their mana.
If you’ve noticed, I continue to say at the beginning. There’s a reason for that. Replacing at the beginning allows you to get rid of a card you KNOW you aren’t going to use that turn in exchange for a card that you will use that turn. This is a huge deal when it comes to working probability in your favor.
Getting the card you want on the turn you want it can potentially make or break your mana efficiency which is a key concept to winning(again, some people play for other reasons) as far as we know.

At this point it’s safe to make our first commandment of Duelyst fundamentals:

I: Thou Shalt Replace Early And Oft.

It may not seem like a huge deal right now, but it is. Get in the habit of replacing before you even move. It’s difficult at first because you often line up combos whilst your opponent is playing. Sometimes it’s hard to notice that things could be better. As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule.




  • Duelyst has two types of replace mechanisms in game to decrease the likelihood of probability being the sole cause of determining the winner or loser of games
  • The Mulligan (jargon), here-on referred to as the Pre-Game Replace at the start of the turn is often used to replace your highest mana minions. Duplicates in your deck of the same card can be returned during the Pre-Game Replace
  • The in-turn replace is best used at the start of your turn to increase the likelihood of you developing a better strategy.
  • Replace cards you don’t want to use that turn to maintain mana efficiency.
  • Replacing in-turn can never return the same card.


edit: Monday May 8th 2017

There has been some community feedback that provided some tips as well. There are certain cards with effects that you may not want to replace immediately. These are case based scenarios that we have yet to get into. To give you a taste, however –

exceptions to this rule, but I’d still like to spell it out.

you don’t always want to replace a card (or even mulligan), and you don’t necessarily want to do it at the start of a turn. I run cards that will draw me a card when played (3 x Sphere of Darkness and 3 x Blaze Hound), so I will often wait to see what they yield before replacing.

other than that it’s good to get in the habit of replacing at the start of the turn because it’s better than accidentally doing it late or forgetting to do it at all

as pointed out by /u/alqmau on the duelyst subreddit (Subscribe to it!)


Author: fatmatth3w

Bad duelyst player.

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