Duelyst, Dang It!! Unboxing the Demon

Duelyst opens with some fairly standard tutorials

. These tutorials seemingly make you feel prepared for the game, but it’s far from the truth.

That’s not to say they are bad. Just that other people are really good. I mean, really really good. You will go through the tutorials at the speed of lightning. They teach you the basics of tactical board games if you’ve never played one before (a good thing! it would definitely be hopeless without it).

Before we discuss those, I want to talk about “unboxing Duelyst” assuming this is your first time ever playing:

  1. Immediately, I went to the settings and adjusted all the user interface settings I could to make the game easier for me.
  2. I also turned off the music (no offence Counterplay – I have Spotify Premium) I want the game to feed me as much information as possible while I play. I want to adapt and be aware of situations during the game, not after.
  3. Then, I installed some scripts to even further improve that user interface. I found these scripts on the duelyst subreddit. They were made by a lovely individual by the name of T2k5. I found him on the Duelyst Official Discord and annoyed him to figure out how to get my screen looking fresh, clean, crisp, and slick while still showing me a lot of data that will improve my play and help me learn the fundamentals of the game. Things like an in-game deck list (which I haven’t figured out yet), a turn-timer, a movement speed increase, and graphical enhancements – the scripts T2K5 makes are an awesome addition to the game. Get them.
  4. Did I mention Discord? I got on the discord – a group instant messaging program full of Duelyst players who can help you out and make you feel like you have a lot of super smart, cool friends if you need that kind of boost like I do.
  5. Hopped into the tutorialsfirstlook
A slightly modified first look

However, the tutorials are far from what the gameplay is actually like. In the real game the generals have a whopping 25hp. Not 3, Not 4, Not 10, for example.

Your mana increases per turn, you don’t start with 9. Your cards are a little more random. The manatiles, oh the mana tiles! It doesn’t get any easier from here.

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Yeah, that only happens for the opponent.

BUT – All things considered, it’s a start. It’s important to learn the fundamentals, and this is what Duelyst For Dummies by (me) A Dummy is about. So take your time. Go slow, read instructions, win and learn to win, because…

Duelyst has no single player mode. If you want to play Duelyst, unless you have a strange set of motivating factors for playing competitive multiplayer games, you probably want to win sometimes to have fun.  Winning isn’t the only thing, but it definitely makes up for losing.

What did I do next? I proceeded to look at all the cards in “collection” after unlocking each faction in a practice match by following the recommended 1v1 battles with the bot. Why did I look at the cards I had collected?

I wanted to look at the cards and try to assign overarching rules to each faction, to come up with an understanding of their strengths and how they win. I realized that was overwhelming, so I took a look at neutral cards with abilities that seemed easy to understand or had no abilities at all. I looked at the Generals available to me and I chose Argeon, as I felt his buff (bloodborne spell) was fairly straight forward and easy to use.

Then, I built a deck using these concepts.
I read online that mathematically you should have nine minions that can be played (dropped) in the first turn, whether you are player one or player two. This has to do with something called mana. We’re not going to get into the concept of player one and player two mana differences just yet – but be aware they exist.

Furthermore, I read that to limit the randomness of card games, you should put the maximum copy of cards you wish to see at least once in the game in your deck (it’s three). Again, this is mathematical data that is ignorant to ignore. There are special cases, but we wont talk about them just yet.

Implementing this concept of nine minions that cost two mana (minions and spells require mana to be played – mana is your money), and the fact that your mana(money) goes up by 1 each turn, I tried to create a very simple to understand deck with an appropriate amount of cards of each cost of mana attempting to predict my curve.

Here is the deck I came up with. I chose not to copy a deck off the internet (netdecking) because I didn’t want win games, and I wanted to learn how to win games and keep winning when I hit sticking points by learning how to play the game, not the cards. The spells are the spells I had access to, note there are no neutral spells:



Provoke, Ranged, Flying. These keywords seemed self-explanatory. Zeal? Opening Gambit? Dying Wish? I mean I can figure them out, but not just yet. I’m still a toddler.

So what did I do next? I queued up a season game to win a quest for some gold (used to buy card packs), expecting to lose with my seriously handicapped deck – Remember, I have some amateur experience in the game.

The end result of my first game? I won.

How did this happen? Well, I probably won because I have played the game before.

But the point here is that I either had a better deck than the other player, better in-game decisions, or better luck.

  1. My deck is the basic cards and not faction specific so it’s hard to imagine the first to be correct.
  2. Possible, I have previous experience.
  3. While possible? I consider it unlikely.

Why is this important? This is important because it demonstrates that spending time to learn the fundamentals will help you become a winning player so you can enjoy the competitive nature of the game.


Oh and, by the way? I got obliterated my second game.

PS: I tried streaming, but my laptop is WAY too terrible. I’m broke – Sorry to those who witnessed it. It will have to happen in the future.


  • The Duelyst tutorial is a little bit off-center from the reality of the game but very good for someone who has never played a turn based strategy game before.
  • Mana = Money
  • There is math that smart people discovered that you should care about with regards to how you should make your deck – specifically to be “cost-efficient” on a “curve”.  Listen to them – most notably about minions that cost 2 mana.
  • You can win without having flashy cards. Build a deck by selecting cards that seem appropriate with attention to the curve and the likeliness that they will see play.
  • I win some, I lose some.


Day 0: fatmatth3w’s Daily Duelyst – From Zero to Running Scared

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I’m a guy who loves to play video games. I love competitive gaming, but I’ve noticed a trend in the age of the internet. The barrier to enter is nearly impossible. It’s insane. Picture this, you go through the tutorials for a game, you play a few games against the NPC. It’s great. Everything goes fantastic, you’re getting a groove. In fact, you’re getting hyped! You love this new, great competitive game. It’s the right-in-your-face, “I’m better than you action”, you think to yourself as you queue for this season’s ladder.

Screenshot - May 5, 2017 10.51 PM
me, thinking I’m awesome.

Screenshot - May 5, 2017 10.58 PM

me realizing I’m not totally awesome…

Your jaw hits the floor at what happens next. You get unbelievably stomped. You’re IHOP pancake flat on a day when they have a shortage of eggs and milk. You can’t believe it. You don’t know what happened. Things were flying around, possibly magic – and they didn’t stop. You blinked and it was over. That couldn’t have been right.

You try again. You load up the queue again. You think you’re going to win this one. It’s going pretty well. Then suddenly, everything you built up to is… completely wiped in one single turn. You simply cannot believe your eyes. What do you do next? The AI stands for artificially incompetent.

You have a spectacular idea. You hit up the internet. You search “how to be good at Duelyst…” on your favorite search engine and you find the main website. It’s a little cluttered, not too bad. You find some other sources and it hits you like a truck.  everyone there is frigging amazing at the god damn game. Things like:

“that stuff is SUPER straight forward you just have to know the meta and the archetype because tempo Argeon has fallen out of favour due to the recent nerf after the anniversary update where AoE’s cost of mana was gone up a few for a few crucial spells from Control Vanar, no big problem”.


You quickly decide you no longer want anything to do with this game. You have a great career, and a girlfriend, and you want to keep them. While I may not exactly share the same luxuries, I want to spend a lot of time learning to put an emphasis on the fundamentals of learning how to learn.

 The art (or science) of abstraction is nearly forgotten, if not already long gone. We currently place an emphasis on information instead of application and understanding. My goal is to understand how I got there, and how to explain it in simple terms. I want to learn why things work the way they do – and make develop an intuition based reaction – opposed to the current memorized knowledge based reaction.

 What I’m hoping here, is that you guys get to watch me gain experience from this, and we all can start breaking that barrier when it comes to getting into the competitive scenes of games.

Disclaimer: I have one account named fatmatthew that has played 1 season and reached rank 10. I am starting a new account to start fresh and learn about the game. I was not paying to play before and I will not be paying to play this time. I plan to spend more hours than most can on the game to learn the ins and outs and teach it the easiest way possible with the least amount of jargon.

Unfortunately, the budget is limited at this moment so I am restricted in the volumes I can use but I will do my best to explain my thought process along the way.

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sweet tip.